volunteer job that pays really well
Edwards can run searches from a fully equipped
pager could go off at anytime of the day or night. A small
aircraft or a hiker is missing. Or, there is a confidential
homeland security issue. When those situations arise, the
call often goes to Denise Edwards. As an incident commander
for the auxiliary of the United States Air Force Civil Air
Patrol, Edwards often plays a central role in such situations.
The most common kind of mission is missing aircraft
and Ill either run the mission, be on the air crew,
or on the ground team, said Edwards.
Since 1992, Edwards has taught first aid, CPR, and accident
prevention in Mission Colleges child development, gerontology,
and Community Extension programs.
A retired emergency room trauma nurse, Edwards has been involved
in search and rescue missions for 45 years, the last eight
with the Civil Air Patrol. As one of about 15 incident commanders
statewide, she often runs search efforts from a fully equipped
command center in her home.
Edwards with team that searched for shuttle Columbia
debris in 2003
[Photo courtesy of Denise
is completely voluntary. And there are big searches and little
ones. In 2003, Edwards was on a team of about 100 searchers
who scoured the Nevada desert for parts from Space Shuttle
Columbia, which broke-up in flight over the southwestern United
States. Edwards said they found debris that NASA scientists
on the team believed were part of the craft, but she never
heard final confirmation of that.
incident, Edwards volunteered to help search for a missing
hiker in Kern County after the active search was scaled back,
distressing the family. Within two days, the body of the hiker
was found. It appeared he had died quickly and of natural
Later, the family invited Edwards to dinner and one of the
children gave her a card that said, Thank you for finding
my grandpa. Recalling the moment, Edwards said, That
still brings tears to my eyes. This is the reward; thats
why Im in the search business.
BY EDUARDO PARDO