By Christina Rice

Maryville Fire Department Chief Phil Rickabaugh, Red Oak Fire Department Chief John Bruce, Maryville Public Safety Sergeant Ryan Glidden and Maryville Fire Department mascot Higbee stand in front of the Midwest Regional Dive Team water rescue boats.

Maryville Public Safety Sergeant Ryan Glidden applied for a Gladys M. Rickard Charitable Trust grant which provided scuba gear and an inflatable rescue boat for the Midwest Regional Dive Team.

The dive team provides water searches and rescues to communities ranging from up to 100 miles away from Clarinda, IA. They are the primary water search and rescue team used by Maryville Public Safety, aiding in searching for people missing on bodies of water and recovering victims who have drowned.

The dive team was started in Red Oak, IA, after the death of a child who drowned in a pond approximately 15 years ago. The Red Oak Fire Department decided it needed more resources for water rescue and started the dive team. The Red Oak Fire Department is comprised of paid staff who manage the team which includes approximately 30 volunteers, some from as far away as Des Moines, IA.

Other entities that actively compose the Midwest Regional Dive Team are the Clarinda Fire Department, Cass County Sheriff’s Department, Adams County Water Rescue and Ringgold County Water Rescue.

Ed Rotert is a certified dive instructor on the team. His presence allows the department to quickly train their volunteers and certify them for open water diving, rescue diving and advanced deep water diving.

The dive team does not have a budget and is solely funded on donations and grants. Glidden stated it would cost too much money to duplicate the program that the Red Oak Fire Department has created and that local law enforcement has a good working relationship with the team. In recent years, they have aided Nodaway County in two incidents at Mozingo Lake and two incidents in the Nodaway River.

Nodaway County has several bodies of water including Mozingo Lake, Nodaway Lake, Bilby Lake, several rivers, streams and ponds. A lot of areas do not have the capacity or the facilities to launch a boat from a boat dock.

Glidden saw this need and decided to help.

“With our bodies of water, we really need their services,” Glidden stated.

The team previously had a metal boat, a gator, a light tower and a pickup.

The trust purchased a $16,990 inflatable six-person boat with a composite hard deck equipped with a 30-horsepower outboard motor, allowing it to be launched anywhere without the need of a dock. The inflatable boat also allows members to aid in residential flooding areas.

In addition to the boat, the trust purchased six water rescue dry suits with rock boots, three rescue ropes with bags and six life jackets for a grand total of $22,053.

“We are limited on funding; having this opportunity was a godsend to us. We are very, very appreciative,” Red Oak Fire Chief John Bruce stated.

Those interested in becoming a volunteer dive team member may contact Bruce at 712.623.6504.



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