Wrightson 60th Anniversary Guest Book

60 years ago this November a tragedy occurred on Mt Baldy in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson.  A group of Boy Scouts from Tucson were dropped off in Madera Canyon to camp overnight and hike to the top of Mt Baldy.  An early season snow storm started dropping snow on the Santa Rita Mountains and the Boy Scouts got lost.  A search was initiated and turned into a massive effort with searchers from Tucson, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Fort Huachuca, and surrounding areas participating.  The search continued for several weeks and sadly three Boy Scouts were eventually found deceased.

To commemorate this event, SARA is having a Search and Rescue Open House this November and is inviting anyone who has been searched for or rescued by SARA, or former SARA members, to leave comments about your SAR experience here in our online Guest Book.

Please note: Comments will not appear until they have been reviewed by a moderator; thank you for your patience.

Mount Wrightson image courtesy of Friends of Madera Canyon.


  1. Back in the late 70’s and 80’s, I was the Pima County Sheriff’s SAR Coordinator. It is a privilege to help your fellow man through the response to search and rescue missions. Also, it is a privilege to work alongside the emergency responders of the Southern Arizona Rescue Association (SARA).

    Throughout my tenure in SAR, a core group of SARA members were central to the success of these missions. With no notice, in the middle of the night, often in forbidding weather, SARA was always there to mobilize, save lives and reduce human suffering. SAR missions often involve extraordinary personal effort and considerable risk. Through SARA’s mountaineering and rescue expertise, these missions are carried out safely and effectively.

    60 years ago, in an unexpected, record breaking snow storm, three Boy Scouts perished in the Santa Rita Mountains. At the onset of the search, three of SARA’s founding members, Eber Glendening, Tom Harlan and Don Morris were the only responders with the winter mountaineering skill, fitness, and determination to overcome extreme low temperatures, several feet of snow, and the long, steep climb to search the Old Baldy Trail and reach the summit of Mt. Wrightson.

    While the boys were not found until many days later, the efforts of Glendening, Harlan, and Morris, exemplify what the Southern Arizona Rescue Association has contributed to mankind for the last 60 years. I hold SARA in the highest regard. They are my dear friends!

    Chuck McHugh
    PCSD Retired

  2. Jim & Joanie Marshall

    We hope the 60th Anniversary Open House is a great reminder of SARA’s past community contributions. Joanie and I were honored to support Search & Rescue in Tucson from about 1976 until 1989. SARA was the most amazing group of volunteers we have ever had the chance to participate in..

    We are currently both retired and live in the Pacific North West. Our closest friends remain SARA members and we are so proud of how this wonderful Volunteer Organization has grown into what it is today. When we were involved in SARA, communication was “key” to success and growth. We were “boots on the ground” in field operations; ran communications between field operations and base stations; and wrote grants to help fund communication resources and ongoing skills training. Keep up the good work!

    If any SARA members visit the Seattle area, give us a call. Our eMail is included and our phone numbers can be gotten from John Gorski or Tom Faulkner, current SARA members.


  3. Michael Thiffault

    I was Member of SARA back in the late 80’s, early 90’s. I was involved in multiple rescues of all natures. It is an experience I will never forget & will always be thankful for.
    Thank you to all the members of SARA & the Pima County Sheriffs Dept for your service.
    Take care, Be safe & God Bless.
    Michael Thiffault.

  4. SAR Open House Moderators

    Welcome to the guest book! Please leave your comments and memories about your SAR experience here. Your entry will appear once it has been reviewed by a moderator. Thank you!

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