COLLEGE STATION – Three Search and Rescue Canines, and three Canine Search Specialists from Texas Task Force 1(TX-TF1) retired last weekend. Search and rescue dogs Rose, Blade and Maggie retired after a combined 25 years of service with the State’s Urban Search & Rescue Team, which also serves as one of the 28 FEMA Task Forces.
These canines have deployed with Texas Task Force 1 since 2005, including Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike, tornados in South Texas as well as floods in Central Texas. Susann Brown, one of Rose’s handlers, and Mike McKenna, Maggie’s handler, will retire as Canine Search Specialists but will remain on TX-TF1 in different positions. Ronnie Perry, a second handler for Rose, will begin training a new canine partner soon. Cathy Farrell, Blade’s handler, will retire from the Task Force along with Blade.
Susann, Mike and Cathy have 57 years of canine SAR canine training experience between them. The retirees were recognized Saturday, March 3, during the Disaster K9 Workshop held at Disaster City?.
TX-TF1 is sponsored by the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) and TX-TF1 has deployed over 80 times since 1997, including the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy, Sept. 11th World Trade Center attack, and Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ike. TX-TF1 can be activated by the Texas Division of Emergency Management or as one of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) 28 sanctioned urban search and rescue teams.
Members of TX-TF1 range from firefighters and medical personnel, to structural engineers, and come from all areas capable of reporting to College Station within a four-hour window. These regions include the Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and San Antonio areas.