HEFLIN — An officer of a Cleburne-area rescue organization who said his group is “just fighting for survival” told the Cleburne County Commission of its financial needs Monday night.
Tyrus Morgan, second captain and financial officer of Cleburne Search and Rescue, told commissioners during a work session that the organization needs funds to keep operating.
Morgan submitted a yearly operating budget of $7,500 to the commission and a list of needs for the 20-member organization.
“Our fundraising efforts in the past, that’s about what we raised, so that’s what we’re doing, we’re just fighting for survival, we’re raising enough money to exist but we’re not flourishing,” Morgan said.
Morgan said that the biggest burden on Cleburne Search and Rescue is the yearly insurance premiums of $5,200.
“It’s been around since about ’66 or ’67, something like that, I’d hate to see it die,” Morgan said of the organization.
Commissioners discussed what would happen if Cleburne Search and Rescue disbanded and who would pick up the slack to perform search and rescues. Morgan said the Sheriff’s Office would have to pick up the slack.
Commissioner Emmett Owen said that would not be possible because the Sheriff’s Office does not have the manpower or personnel to rescue people off of Mount Cheaha.
Owen said that an organization from outside the county might have to be called upon to perform search and rescues if the local search and rescue no longer exists.
Owen said that the request for funds would be placed on the agenda at next week’s meeting.
After the meeting Morgan said he would like Cleburne Search and Rescue to expand, attract new members and have additional training.
Morgan said Cleburne Search and Rescue specializes in wilderness rescues in remote areas of the county including Coleman Lake, various horse trails, the Pinhoti Trail and Mount Cheaha.
In other business the commission:
• Discussed what to do about the deteriorating conditions of the Chief Ladiga Trail which runs through Cleburne County.
Commission chairman Ryan Robertson said that roots are beginning to grow on the sides of the asphalt trail, making it rough. He recently rode the Cleburne section on his bicycle from Vigo to Borden Springs and declared the experience “bumpy.”
The commission considered the various options to fix the trail, including grant money and getting in touch with officials in Calhoun County for a solution.
• Voted close the courthouse on April 19, Good Friday. The courthouse will also be closed April 22 giving workers a four-day weekend for the Easter Holiday.