It had all the elements of a great tale.

A man lost in the wilderness. A search conducted in the teeth of bad weather and harsh terrain.

The story of Robert Borders, Baker City, ended with triumph last month when search and rescue personnel found him. Borders fortunately was able to use a satellite device to send text message to help in his rescue, and the story had a happy ending.

Crews from Baker and Union counties searched for Borders, and the lingering theme is the hard — and largely unsung — work of local search and rescue personnel.

Every year the work of members of search and rescue teams — almost all of them volunteers — takes center stage after someone is lost in the vast wilderness that surrounds the great towns along the Interstate 84 corridor through Union and Baker counties.

In places like remote Wallowa County, the work of search and rescue personnel is even more important.

It’s hard to define what drives these men and women. Why do they willingly give up their precious time to descend into terrible weather conditions to look for someone who is missing? Whatever drives them, we should all be grateful.

Their dedication is priceless. It means that if we are somehow lost, we have a reasonable chance of being found. It means we can depend on search and rescue volunteers — even in the worst conditions — to drop what they are doing and help.

There are many ways of giving back to the community, many ways of helping democracy, and being a member of a search and rescue team is one of them. The work of these men and women is a reflection not just on themselves but on all our communities.

That kind of commitment— sacrifice, really — is not only commendable but an outstanding example of the kind of people who live in Northeastern Oregon.

So if you know someone on the rosters of our search and rescue teams, tell them thanks.

A simple thank-you might not be much, but it means we all appreciate what they do and how they do it.

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