Search and Rescue Explorer Post Advisor Dick Johansen Wins Bob Wright Award

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Long Beach Search and Rescue Advisor and retired Long Beach Police Officer Richard “Dick” Johansen is receiving the “Bob Wright Award”, from the National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR) for his 47 years of service with Long Beach Search and Rescue on May 28, 2009. Dick is the founder of Long Beach Search & Rescue, an award-winning “Learning for Life” Explorer Post cosponsored by the Long Beach Police Motor Patrol and Long Beach Firefighters Associations.

This award was established in 1993 by the NASAR Board of Directors to recognize significant contributions to national search and rescue specifically in the areas of exemplary “Youth Leader” and “Dedication to Education.” It is granted to an individual only and solely on merit.

Dick started as a Reserve Officer with the Long Beach Police Department in 1949, was hired full time in 1951, and spent the majority of his career with the Motor Detail before retiring in 1979. In 1962 when Dick was a motor officer with the Long Beach Police Department, he was tasked with starting a Law Enforcement Explorer Program by the Chief of Police. In 1963 Dick got the Long Beach Fire Department involved and shifted the post’s specialty from law enforcement to urban search and rescue and the rest is history. Over the next 46 years Dick has dedicated himself to youth. He has created, and continues to be, the driving force behind an organization that through a program of community service provides young adults exposure to careers in public safety, and opportunities to grow personally and professionally. The young adults in the program range in age from fifteen to twenty one years old.

Since 1962, more than 1,300 young adults have participated in the Long Beach Search & Rescue Unit; 39 have been hired by the Long Beach Fire Department, 26 by the Long Beach Police Department. Roughly 250 young adults have gone on to careers with a variety of professional emergency services agencies. Several have and are currently serving our country in the Armed Forces of the United States.

Over the years the unit has gone from a mere explorer post to become a professional search and rescue team. Long Beach Search and Rescue is currently the only all-volunteer Type II Medium US&R resource in the state of California. The unit has been recognized as the top Fire-Rescue Explorer Post in the nation by the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and has received the coveted Certificate of Merit from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

For further information please contact Officer Eric Matusak, Training Director, Long Beach Search & Rescue at (562) 244-9985.

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