Search & Rescue honors Creel, Perryman at ceremony

By BY RECARDO THOMAS STAFF REPORTER,

Garry Perryman, left, and Rookie Creel, right, accept their distinguished service awards from Stan Bennett, president of the Sunflower County Search & Rescue.

Photo: Recardo Thomas

The Sunflower County Search and Rescue unit honored two of its own during their annual dinner on Saturday night.

Rookie Creel, who is a K-9 handler and Gary Perryman, who serves as a flanker, were presented the distinguished service award for their contribution to the citizens of Sunflower County and others.

The SAR is a strictly volunteer group who rise to the call whenever the tone is sounded representing that someone is in need of help.

Fred Randle, Director of Emergency Management, Leflore County was the special guest speaker for the occasion. He extolled on the importance of having men and women such as the rescue workers who will get out of their beds in the middle of the night, leave their spouses and children, to go trek through cold, wet and wooded areas to go help a stranger. “It’s a hard job,” he said.

Randle praised the group and encouraged them to continue the great work that they do and persist in maintaining a close association with other safety personnel.

He urged them to always exert caution going into any situation because survival should be high on their list of priorities. “Five of you go in, five of you need to come out,” Randle said.

During his talk, he also mentioned the KC-130 military plane crash recovery effort, which the Sunflower County Search and Rescue was a vital part of, and how much the military and the families of those victims appreciate the efforts put forth to expedite the recovery of their loved ones.

He said one of the colonels told him that in the history of the Marines never have they had to rely in such a way on civilian help. He said the military expected the operation to take six and a half months. “And we were in and out in two and a half,” he said.

Randle stressed how valuable each member of the team is especially since they do what they do out of a love for people and none of them get any pay.

Another part of Saturday’s event was the announcement of the annual raffle winner. This year David Smith won the prize and Stan Bennett praised Smith for being one of the group’s staunchest supporters. The money from this year’s raffle was used to purchase an enclosed trailer for the SAR.