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Members of Utah Task Force deployed to Maui to help with search, rescue efforts

Aug 20, 2023, 5:06 PM | Updated: 5:31 pm

MAUI, Hawaii — On a typical day, some members of Utah’s Task Force 1 are fighting fires with the Unified Fire Authority, but for the last several days, they’ve been focused on recovery efforts hoping to bring a sense of closure to the people of Maui.

Utah’s Task Force 1 is one of 28 federal search and rescue teams across the U.S.

Safety Officer Wade Russell and Deputy Plans Chief Roger Beckman, are members of the local task force. They, along with Cait Clawson, a civilian member, and her human remains dog Swayze are all on Maui, helping in ways they’ve been trained to. Another member from Utah — Dr. Graham Brant-Zawadzki, is also on Maui. He’s working with the Nevada Task Force 1 as a resource share.

Cait Clawson with Swayze. (Utah Task Force 1) Safety Officer Wade Russell. (Utah Task Force 1) Deputy Plans Chief Roger Beckman. (Utah Task Force 1)

Beckman is a part of FEMA’s Blue Incident Support Team. His goal is to help with planning rescue operations for all deployed teams.

“It’s hard in a sense because even as a fireman, I mean, we train every single day to be able to go into a burning building and try to save somebody’s life,” Beckman said. “On things like this, it’s really hard because that save piece is not always there. And it’s more, you’re turning into trying to just help people find some closure.”

A sense of closure that may be difficult, but the goal that he and hundreds of other men and women trained extensively to do. Beckman wants Utahns to know members, like the team on Maui, are ready when or if disaster strikes.

“What we’re doing matters. It matters to maybe not everyone’s perception, but it matters to the person that we’re going be able to help,” he said.

It’s unclear when these members will return home. To follow their efforts, you can visit their Facebook page. 

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Members of Utah Task Force deployed to Maui to help with search, rescue efforts