The Mountaineer Volunteer is a pay-it-forward feature in the Revelstoke Mountaineer that highlights the great work volunteers do to make Revelstoke a true community. We feature a new volunteer who then nominates the volunteer to be featured next.
Revelstoke Mountaineer: Where do you volunteer?
Zuzana Driediger: I volunteer for Revelstoke Search and Rescue, and for the Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA) on the Board of Directors. I also recently stepped down from the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association (CARDA) as a 20 year member and Board of Directors member, and Board of Directors and member of the Revelstoke Canine Search and Rescue.
RM: What are your volunteer duties?
ZD: Currently, I train and respond with the amazing group of volunteers for Rev SAR. We meet every second Tuesday, and are on call 24/7 to help with SAR call outs. I have training in Helicopter External Transport (HETS), rope rescue, swift water and ground search and rescue operations.
21 years ago, I moved to Revelstoke and became the first Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association (CARDA) handler in the area. Over time I’ve had many opportunities to works with various great people and organizations on rescues and training exercises. I’ve also had the chance to help mentor new dog teams and am proud to watch these volunteers grow and become a recognized part of the Revelstoke back country lifestyle.
I am also serving my third year as Director of Active Members on the Canadian Avalanche Association, volunteering with some incredible people and employees and participating in the growth of this national organization.
Why do you volunteer for Revelstoke Search & Rescue and the CAA?
I started volunteering initially because I loved dogs and I loved being outside in the mountains. Combining these in a way that could help people was not only fun for me, but satisfying knowing that you could make a difference in someone’s life. From working with dogs, my skills grew over time in other areas of outdoor rescue, and I was fortunate to live here in Revelstoke, where there are so many talented mentors to guide me along. Rev SAR is like another family to me. We all look out for each other.
For you, what’s rewarding about volunteering?
It’s exciting and gratifying to see organizations grow, and making a difference in people’s lives. Bringing someone home safely, or providing closure to families is gratifying beyond words. I feel that its human nature for us to help each other out.