Rocky Mountain Rescue

“You’ll do what you think you want to do,” one of Wallace Stegner’s characters remarked, “or what you think you ought to do. If you’re very lucky, . . . the two will coincide.” When the members of the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group learn that a fellow human being is in distress, what Westerners want to do and what Westerners ought to do coincide with precision and force. As you know to the core of your souls, the magic and appeal of the extraordinary Colorado landscapes can take an instant turn to risk and danger. Carrying with you the sorrows from the times when death overruled your efforts at a “save,” you live the truth of Stegner’s words, “Be proud of every scar on your heart. Each one holds a lifetime’s worth of lessons.” At the sound of your pagers, you assemble your gear, mobilize your teams, accelerate “situational awareness,” and pitch into your checklists, with the wisdom-enriched goal “to make rescue boring.” Wallace Stegner believed that “the quality that most characterizes and preserves” the West is “cooperation.” Had he known that the Center of the American West would, in 2015, give the award named in his honor to the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, he would surely have said, “Why did you wait so long?”