Jordan Frank of Ty-Histanis, front, and James Griffin, right, celebrated with their local Westcoast Inland Search and Rescue team at Long beach on New Year’s Eve after winning WISAR’s emergency response vehicle naming contest. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

VIDEO: Local kids name rescue vehicles in Tofino and Ucluelet

“We really wanted to engage the youth of both communities.”

What’s in a name? Well, youth engagement for one.

Westcoast Inland Search and Rescue members gathered at Long Beach on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the naming of their two rescue vehicles.

The crew’s rapid response jeep will now be known as ‘The Yeti’ and the command truck which houses communications systems and search maps has been aptly dubbed ‘Duke.’

“The initial response team will deploy in The Yeti and then Duke will come in later on and set up a command scenario,” said WISAR member Garth Cameron adding ‘Duke’ is a “very commanding name” and ‘The Yeti’ symbolized being mobile in the bush.

The names were submitted by West Coast youths James Griffin, 9, of Ucluelet and Jordan Frank, 12, of Ty-Histanis.

The Search and Rescue team undertook a naming contest where students at both Ucluelet Elementary School and Tofino’s Wickaninnish Community School submitted potential names.

“We really wanted to engage the youth of both communities. We’re here to service the communities and the people who visit the Coast and it’s just an awesome opportunity to have youth involved with what we do,” Cameron said. “Getting the youth involved with what we do and have them partake and have their names actually on our vehicles means the world to all of us.”

About 15 members of the SAR team selected the name at a pizza night where they faced a tough task with many awesome names put forward with honourable mentions going to ‘Eagle Eye,’ submitted by seven-year-old Chloe Alexander, ‘The Husky’ submitted by eight-year-old Hannah McCarthy and ‘Cougar,’ submitted by Phoebe Ford.

“We had names that were really close seconds and we were humming and hawing. It was a very difficult choice,” Cameron said. “So what we did is we put all the names that we liked up on a board and we put stickers next to them…The ones that had the most stickers were the winners.”

The winning names were placed on their respective vehicles Sunday morning and Griffin was thrilled to see his suggestion, ‘The Yeti,’ shine prominently on the jeep.

“I really like ‘The Yeti’ name and thought it would be a cool name for the search and rescue truck,” Griffin said. “It’s white and it’s big. Yeti’s are big and strong and this truck looks strong.”

Frank was equally excited to see his suggestion, ‘Duke,’ on the command vehicle.

“It seemed like a good name for a bigger and tougher truck,” he said. “It’s exciting to have my name picked.”

The Yeti has been part of the Search and Rescue team since April, 2017. Duke is entering its fifth year of service, according to Cameron.

Along with having their names immortalized on the vehicles, Griffin and Frank both received a new backpack filled with prizes inside including a headlamp, water bottle and first aid kit.

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