Thursday, April 4, 2013

Attention Pixburghers: The Keister You Save May Be Your Own. Also, NACHOS and WALLEYE.

Photo in honor of The Winter Who Didn't Know When to Go.

Time to bang the drums for the Unsung Geeks of the Forest.  If you are in trouble in the woods, gulleys, caves, and cliffs in the Central Appalachian response area, some of the people and dogs who drag themselves out of bed or beg off work to come find and help you are the Nerd Kings of search and rescue -- the doctors, biochemists, engineers, tech-heads and generally overedjimicated dweebs that make up a disproportionate chunk of the roster of Allegheny Mountain Rescue Group.*

Whether they are running experiments on effective sweep width of visual searchers on the Allegheny Plateau, exposing a "technological" fraud, reflexively reprogramming the National Inland SAR School's planning software during class time, geeking out over comms and navigation systems, kludging together a new and improved hypothermia field treatment protocol, or engaging in a lively "discussion" over whether the belay line on this high angle haul system requires a radium release hitch at the anchor -- they never let their obsession with overthinking, hashing out, innovating, debating, even disputing** get in the way with gettin' er done when it's time for action.

They are the teammates who I have trusted with my life -- quite literally at times -- for over eighteen years.  Every one of them a volunteer professional who sacrifices his or her time, money, and ceaseless psychic energy to the mission of saving total strangers. Maybe, one day, you.

Well, radios and GPS units, maps and Ferno litters, trailers and insurance and the Mr. Coffee at the command post aren't free.  So we are having a fundraiser.

Actually, four commingled fundraisers. A fundraising blitz. Fundraise-a-rama. The April of Extreme Fundraising. WHERE TO BEGIN?

Let's start at the climax, the end of the road. And that road is Route 228 in Cranberry Township, just 25 fast highway minutes from glorious downtown Pittsburgh.

Just what it says; print out the flyer (download a PDF here) and come to On The Border on Wednesday, April 17 any time between 11 am and 8 pm. A generous 15% of your total food and drink order will benefit Allegheny Mountain Rescue Group.

Print out a stack of flyers (black and white is fine) and hand them out at work, at school, at your PTA meeting, next to the guy selling roses on the 16th Street Bridge.

Email the link to all the Pittsburghers you know, Facebook it, Tweet it, and if you, too, are mired in geekdom, share it on Google+.  Hey, you non-Burghers can do this too! Have you fled the nest, or just have some friends in Western PA? Send it on, Baby!

I understand that On the Border has some pretty good Tex-Mex food, and am looking forward to guacamole and sangria.

But wait, there's more!

Because we're gonna have a bit of a party at On The Border, culminating at 8 pm in drawing the winning raffle ticket for a Fabulous Lake Erie Fishing Trip.

Yep, the lucky winner will get four hours of professionally-guided fishing for four people -- captain,  boat, tackle, bait and fish-cleaning. Bring your own beer, license, and sunscreen. Tip the mate!

You can fish for these:

Or these:


Or my personal nomming favorite, these:

That's a $500 value.

Tickets are $5 each.  You can buy them from me by emailing me at houlahan AT zoominternet   DOT the thing with which you will be landing those monster walleye. Or lakers. Or perch. On the day of your choosing (minus those that are already booked, natch.)

I'll mail you your tickets, or send you a scan and hold them for you.

But, sez you, I do not live near enough to Erie, PA to take advantage of this fabulous fishing opportunity.

Aha -- but perhaps you have a friend, family, business contact, or much-admired blogger to whom you could bestow a gift of chartered fishing, were you to be favored by Fortuna with such a prize?

Erie is within two hours of Cleveland, OH; Pittsburgh, PA; Buffalo, NY.

Within three hours or thereabouts: Rochester, NY; Hamilton, ON; Morgantown, WV.

See? Day trip!

But wait, there's more.

You can also buy tickets for the Reel Obsession Lake Erie Fishing Charter from AMRG members at the Pittsburgh Public Market on Saturday, April 13.  We will be at the Market from 9-5, selling tickets, running a SAR dog kissing booth, demonstrating some of our SAR skills, and possibly running a tug-of-war contest at which you may challenge trainee SAR dog Nico.

Just so you know: the tree lost. I am not kidding.
Also at the Public Market, and at On The Border on Wednesday the 17th, we will be selling raffle tickets for a separate raffle with other fabulous prizes that will also be drawn on the 17th. (You do not have to be present to win.)

Prizes will include a round of golf for two at Butler's Golf Course, a NASCAR "racing experience" with Rusty Wallace, a night at the Sun & Cricket B&B, climbing at REI, a canoe trip from The River's Edge, and more coming in every day. The generosity of local businesses and the industry of our fundraising committee has been overwhelming. How about helping to turn that generosity into cash for your friendly neighborhood search and rescue geeks by buying some tickets?

But to get these tickets, you have to show up at the Public Market on April 13 or On The Border on April 17.


* Postgraduate education is not a requirement for becoming Of The Body. It just seems to sort of happen that way a lot of the time.

** Mommy and Daddy are not fighting, Sweetie. They are just having a discussion. Now go play with your rescue rack.


  1. Do you know how much I love fishing and On the Border salsa?

    A lot. It's like you tailored a fundraiser just to me.

    If I didn't life half a continent away, I'd be RIGHT THERE.

  2. I'm sorry I'm not local - I'd totally pay to kiss a SAR dog! Hope the whole thing goes well!


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