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Ray Norton is the winner!

Back Country Medics (fornerly Back Country Medical Rescue Team) is the answer for Week 217 of Orofino History Trivia a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country.

Join in the discovery!

Monday: A solution to a problem

Tuesday: Specialized skills

Wednesday: A variety of backgrounds

Thursday: They often come from the sky.

Back Country Medics (originally North Idaho Back Country Medical Rescue Team was formally organized in 1978, but a number of people had seen the need for such a service several years before. One of those was Charles "Frenny" Frensdorf who owned the local helicopter service, Valley Aviation. He was on occasion flying injured people out of the back country to medical facilities and saw the need to have medically trained people on board to give care to patients.

That helicopter service became and, though ownership has changed to Gale Wilson of Hillcrest Aircraft Company, Inc., continues to be an integral part of the team's efforts. Frenny flew many of the early BCMRT flights. Others worked through the Clearwater County Sheriff's Department to establish the team.

Back Country Medics team members joined with other emergency responders for a "Mock DUI Crash" staged for seniors from Orofino and Timberline high schools. They are seen loading a "patient" into the helicopter.

Back Country Medics has been a volunteer organization since its inception and that makes it unique among air ambulance services. They focus on the person that is in need whether due to injury or illness. With the one-on-one contact, team members and patients often develop personal relationships and keep in contact with each other though they may have been strangers before the incident. With the varying conditions of weather, location, type of injury and situations, team members put it all on the line.

Team members come from a variety of backgrounds that contribute to various aspects needed to rescue and care for those that are injured or become seriously ill in the region's backcountry or need expedited air transport to medical facilities. Some of the team members are doctors and nurses with medical expertise, while others have expertise in rapelling or rope rescues. They have "regular" jobs from selling insurance and cars to managing businesses and meeting health care needs at the local hospital and clinic. Others are retired from their primary professions, but are still involved with the team.

Check teams members pickups or cars and you are likely to find an emergency bag, but it is more than equipment and training that makes the team. It is the commitment and caring for others in need that takes them from their normal lives into situations where they put it all on the line. It is seeing those people they have helped recover and go on with their lives that is their greatest reward.

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Orofino, ID 83544
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