Though originally formed by members of the Powers family, the Search & Rescue Technologies team has grown to be an official, statewide, non-profit group over the last several weeks due in part to the support of several area volunteers.

One such local supporter, Joel Brinkley, who has since stepped into the position of Co-Director with the team, explained to iSurf how the group formed, what their goals are, and how people can get involved.

“Belinda Powers and her family had already started the team ‘off paper,’” said Brinkley, “but here recently, Scott Heltsley, who is now another Co-Director, Belinda and Joe Powers, and myself, talked about it and decided to put it down on paper, making it official.”

As Brinkley explained, the main reason behind forming the team is so our area will have a trained and ready search team available when needed. 

“We’re doing some training right now and we will eventually be doing mock water, land, and air searches with some reconnaissance before hand, and if we have leads, we’ll combine that with the use of our technologies to find the missing person,” said Brinkley. “We do have other people we are affiliated with that have enough equipment until we get our own, such as the Emergency Management Association [EMA] and the local law enforcement of whatever area we might need to go into.”

In regards to the technology and equipment the team will be working with, Brinkley said that GPS units, metal detectors, sonar equipment, and some air surveillance equipment will be a major part of their search efforts and training regimen. In addition, the team is also hoping to employ the use of cadaver dogs—such as bloodhounds—and ATVs in both mock and real searches throughout the state.

“What we’re are probably going to do, is compile a list of all the people missing in Kentucky and the surrounding areas so we’ll always have people that we’re helping to look for,” said Brinkley.

In total, Brinkley looks to have anywhere from 150 to 200 people on the team in the near future, which will include people from our local community as well as people all over the state. What’s more is that people looking to get involved with the Jodi Powers Search & Technologies team have several options.

Currently held at Madisonville’s First Presbyterian Church, the team meets once a month, with their next session coming up on December 11th. As Brinkley explained, the upcoming meet will offer CPR training and a miniature ground search. Then, on January 15th, the group will be building and searching for artificial cadavers in local fields in order to gain some hands-on search and rescue experience. Though there is a $25 fee to join the team, the entirety of the proceeds will go toward funding team needs, such as additional equipment.

However, if becoming a member isn’t your thing, you can help to support the team by simply donating. For instance, the group is currently looking for any kind of equipment that could aid in their efforts, including ATVs (in any condition), trailers, and other equipment. Of course, monetary donations are welcome as well.

The group will also be offering some interesting seasonal services to raise funds. For example, the team will be offering to send Santa Clause to your home for a $25 fee from December 17th-26th. T-Shirt sales, restaurant coupons, and other fundraisers will be held in the near future as well. Of course, all proceeds from the fundraisers will go directly to the Jodi Powers Search & Rescue Technologies team as well.

To donate, to find out more on becoming a member or volunteer, or to get additional info on team meetings and fundraisers, you may contact Joel Brinkley at (270) 621-0374 or Scott Heltsley at (270) 543-7522. In addition, you may message them, Lindsey Kaye Sutton, or the Jodi Powers Search & Rescue Technologies group on for more information.

“We’re in this for life,” said Brinkley, “and whoever joins will become highly educated in how to search for people, what to do when they go investigating, how to set up the logistics of a search, and how to use technology to recover and find missing people.”

Luke Short
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Posted on 2/2/14
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