Kentucky Air National Guardsman, K9 duo help search and rescue efforts in eastern Ky.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky continues to deploy all of its resources to help the flood victims in the eastern part of the state.
That includes the Kentucky Air National Guard, which used one of the organization’s most unique assets.
Master Sergeant Rudy Parsons and his search and rescue K9 Callie were deployed to Hazard, Ky. over the weekend, helping crews in the search and rescue efforts.
“[There was] just water everywhere that it shouldn’t have been, homes dislodged, cars flipped, roads out of order with standing water, moving water across it,” Parsons said. “So it was pretty eye-opening to see what the water had done.”
Parsons has served for 14 years as a pararescue guardsman, a specialist highly trained in parachuting, scuba diving and rock climbing, who rescue people in any environment.
Callie is a five-year-old Dutch Shepherd trained in search and rescue. She and Parsons became partners four years ago.
Parsons told WAVE News their mission in Hazard was to find four missing children.
“During that day, we were able to find and recover two of those children, and then the following morning we were able to recover the remaining two,” Parsons said. “Sadly, none of them survived, so it was kind of devastating to get out there and see just the destruction the water did to property, but also just what really the devastation to families and community.”
In all, Parsons and Callie spent 48 hours in the flood zone, putting Callie’s rescue talents to work.
However, the disaster in eastern Kentucky is not this duo’s first mission.
Last December, they were first on scene in Mayfield, Ky. when deadly tornadoes hit the western part of the state.
“When the tornadoes blasted through, we were able to be at Mayfield candle factory,” Parsons said. “We were the first dog on scene. And now with this, it’s really paying off to be able to help provide families with closure, in the cases that we experienced during the floods, but also provide those few minutes that can mean life or death for people too.”
After their efforts in eastern Kentucky, Parsons flew to Montana for training. Callie is expected to meet him there.
He said he plans to use their experience in the flood waters to prepare for future disasters.
“In pararescue, our job is to be able to rescue somebody anywhere, anytime, anyplace that others may live,” Parsons said. “That’s our motto. And so to be able to have the capability, like a dog, that’s such an enabler to be able to accelerate locating and saving people. So, to be able to get that dog in places that normally are unattainable or inaccessible... I’m super proud of the program.”
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