Among the many associations and organizations that meet our professional desires, Nacht & Lewis takes pride in serving our community by volunteering. About 17 months ago, I joined the Sacramento Sheriff’s Drowning Accident Rescue Team (DART) with my son Grant. It was a way I could use my skills as a diver and boater to help out a great organization. The rivers are a wonderful amenity for Sacramento but also represent a significant amount of danger. Volunteering with DART is a way for me to serve my community.
That said, it has been a real commitment. Grant and I became Swift Water Rescue Technicians last May and since then we have been very busy patrolling the rivers. I helped rescue several people at one of the Rafting Gone Wild events last summer. I spent most of my summer weekends on proactive patrol at Discovery Park. My son and I, while open water divers, have also committed to training for recovery dive operations. We both were certified for dry suits, full face masks and blackwater diving last fall. We are still listed as prospective divers/interns for DART because the organization is very careful to fully train our volunteers for these very dangerous recovery operations.
During swift water rescue operations, we work in the rivers to assist victims or in some cases, support our dive operations. We are trained to go sub-surface even though fire department rescue technicians are not generally allowed. We are the County’s dive team and recover vehicles, evidence and unfortunately bodies. There are a few instances where we defer to other dive teams with better equipment, but typically our team is assisting fire and law enforcement agencies in the general vicinity. In March and April, there were several weekends where we worked 12 hour days assisting with rescues and recoveries – and along with my real job, there was a three week period I did not get a day off. I still have no regrets.
We are all volunteers with other jobs. The organization is strictly non-profit. We purchase most of our own gear and rely on donations for the larger equipment items such as boats, vehicles, and other operational expenses. If we had greater funding, we could serve our community even better.
The Big Day of Giving is May 2nd. As part of this fundraising event, I have created my own campaign which can be found here. If you and/or your company can donate, DART and its volunteers (especially me) would be extremely grateful. Enjoy the water this summer, but be safe!