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New book tells story of pioneering Oswego County search and rescue team

Payne Horning
Current and former members of the Oswego County Pioneers Search and Rescue team celebrate the new book that details the group's legacy. Jim Farfaglia, second to left, authored "Pioneers: The Story of Oswego County's Search and Rescue Team."

A new book from a central New York author details the legacy of a group called the the Oswego County Pioneers, the first organized volunteer search and rescue team created in the state.

Volunteer search and rescue teams may be ubiquitous today, but local historian Jim Farfaglia says that wasn't the case in New York 50 years ago. He says the effort to find missing persons was chaotic.

"Disorganized was probably the best way to describe it," Farfaglia said. "There was no protocol. So, one of the things this search and rescue team started was how do we react when someone goes missing."

Credit Jim Farfaglia

In the summer of 1971, several Oswego County residents who had aided in an unsuccessful search for a missing boy in the Adirondacks decided to begin laying the infrastructure for a professional group that could better respond to those cases. Hubert Parrow was there.

"The people who showed up that day, some of the members were different groups, horse people, mostly men who had hunted and pretty much been out into the wilderness areas," said Parrow.

Their example was soon repeated throughout new york and the eastern seaboard. Farfaglia says the Oswego County Pioneers is still revered today . The group's assistant coordinator Aaron Albrecht says they're as needed as ever because dementia and autism-related missing person cases are on the rise, as is a growing reliance upon technology.

"People are in some ways maybe a little braver to venture out because they have their technology and then maybe when their technology fails, they don’t know what to do," Albrecht said. 

The profits from the book "Pioneers: The Story of Oswego County's Search and Rescue Team" will go to the team.