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PODCAST: Superior Search and Rescue 101 with President Darian Reed

February 16, 2022 | By Michael H. Babcock

22-02-02-PHFPodcast-SocialPost-Superior Search and Resue - Draft 3-02In this edition of the Portage Health Foundation Podcast, we visit with Superior Search and Rescue (SSAR) President Darian Reed. In the podcast we talk in detail about everything happening with the non-profit organization that serves Houghton, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties. Below is an overview of what was discussed.

  • Get a background on Darian Reed to learn what led him to join and now lead SSAR.
  • Hear about the busy year that was 2021. It was the busiest year in recent memory for the organization in terms of calls.
  • Hear about Reed’s vision for the future of Superior Search & Rescue.
  • Discuss the organization’s drone program, which includes a new drone that came in thanks to $35,000 in grants and more in donations.
  • The Mobile Command Center was revamped in 2021 with new technology thanks to a PHF Grant.
  • Discussed training opportunities and a renewed focus on providing potentially life-saving training for SSAR volunteers.
  • Went into detail on what Project Lifesaver is and how it works.

Reed is the first three-time guest on the PHF Podcast. He was previously featured in November 2021 talking about #GivingTuesday and in November 2020 talking about #GivingTuesday.

The PHF Podcast can be found wherever you listen to podcasts including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast and more. Learn more about Portage Health Foundation at and Superior Search and Rescue at

Drone program expansion a big deal for all-volunteer Superior Search and Rescue

Picture a lost child deep in the Keweenaw woods after losing track of his location on a walk behind his grandmother’s house. It’s been hours and it’s starting to get colder. The sun is starting to go down. The regret for not bringing a cell phone or having another person with him eating him alive. He knows his family must be looking for him. Must be worried sick.

Then he hears a faint sound off in the distance. At first a gentle hum that gets louder as it nears him. Finally he sees it, a large drone that is seemingly following his path through the snow. A half mile away the volunteers at Superior Search and Rescue are showing police and other first responders exactly where he is on a huge flat screen TV in their mobile command center. Rescuers head out and eventually find the path to the child, getting him before the dark sets in.

With the new drone technology Superior Search and Rescue (SSAR) has implemented, the odds of a success story like that are much greater. The camera technology is much better. The fly time is much longer. The infrared camera shows heat much better. The live camera view in their mobile command center is basically without delay straight from the drone.

That situation isn’t exactly what’s happened, but it’s what could and that’s what motivated the team at SSAR to invest in the new drone. In total they received $35,000 in grants and thousands more in donations from community members to land this new drone. In this video SSAR President Darian Reed talks through the original formation of the drone program and highlights the amazing things the new drone is capable of.

Learn more about Superior Search and Rescue at

Michael H. Babcock

Michael H. Babcock