Tonto Rim Search and Rescue (TRSAR) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation made up of more than 60 volunteer members dedicated to saving lives and assisting people in need. Supported only by donations and fundraisers, TRSAR has been serving the Rim Country community for over 50 years.
2024 Board Members
Bill Pitterle, Commander
Margaret Johnson, Vice-Commander
Susan Starr, Secretary
Brad Cole, Treasurer
Ken Flickinger, Board Member
Tom Edwards, Board Member
Carol True, Board Member
TRSAR was founded in 1964 by Gila County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jim Blackburn to assist in handling the many civil rescues in the Pine-Strawberry area. At that time, one deputy took care of all of the activities in his area—and there were more calls than he could handle. The squad assisted people stuck in snow as well as those lost or injured. They were activated by any request, and did not have to wait for the Sheriffs Office to approve the mission.
In 1977, Arizona passed a law making all SAR activity the responsibility of the Sheriff of their particular county. That changed a lot of procedures and was good for the future of SAR. Workmen’s compensation insurance was now implemented by the state for all volunteers during any mission and certain approved training missions. Better training and equipment became a reality, and better coordination and cooperation between counties evolved.
The headquarters and name of the group changed several times. It was called TONTO REACT for a while, and was headquartered in Star Valley and also Payson at different times. Its headquarters and squad building are currently located in Strawberry, AZ on Lost Oak Lane off Fossil Creek Rd.
Please consider a donation to support the efforts of TRSAR. We volunteer our time, skills, and personal equipment. Rescue equipment, medical equipment, and specialized training take significant amounts of our annual budget. We are not publicly funded and rely on the generosity of our community.