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John Miller

"Search is an emergency," says John Miller, coordinator of the Lane County Sheriff's Office volunteer Search and Rescue Program. "It's a fallacy that you have to wait 24 hours before reporting a missing person. You should call when you're concerned." The only full-time staffer at SAR, Miller is on call 24/7 for all but six days a month. He responds to 80 to 115 incidents per year. A Eugene native and Sheldon High grad, Miller saw combat in Viet Nam, then went to work for El-Jay Manufacturing in Springfield. He spent his spare time hiking, skiing, and especially mountaineering. "I volunteered with Eugene Mountain Rescue for 12 years," he says. "In 1994 I was given the opportunity to do this job." When a report comes in, Miller can call on any of eight specialized SAR units, including mountain rescue, water rescue, a dog search team, and Explorer Post 178. He spends a third of his time training and testing volunteers, both within Oregon and outside the state. To learn about SAR volunteer opportunities, visit LaneSheriff.org and look for Search and Rescue.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 28 June 2007

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