Every time Andy Csepely hears the Beatles song “Help!” emanating from his phone, he gets excited, because the ringtone signifies a SAR callout. As Type 1 qualified and a member of the Hasty Squad, he hears that tone quite a bit, and he’s usually up for it.
That is, he’s up for it when he’s not obligated to be at one of his two paid jobs as an IT specialist and an Air Force reservist.
Andy spent his early years in Germany and Hungary before moving to California in 1987, where he lived in the South Bay. He spent four years serving in the Air Force then he started his career in information technology while still maintaining his Air Force connection. He has been in the reserves going on eight years now and spent some of that time in Kuwait (2008) and Iraq (2010).
Currently he works for ClubSport as the system administrator and he spends a weekend a month at Travis Air Force Base, where he has a variety of roles, including logistics, air transportation and emergency management.
But, as if two “jobs” weren’t enough, Andy went looking for another activity in which to pour his (seemingly endless) energy and he found CoCoSAR. He and wife Natalie joined together in 2010.
It was a good fit for someone who has camped and backpacked for most of his life and has extensive knowledge of radios, communications and much more (not to mention that energy).
“I consider myself a jack-of-all trades, master-of-none-kind of guy,” Andy says. “So I try to help where I can, and learn whenever possible.
He’s also an adventurous soul who loves to ride motorized bikes (dirt or road).
Andy says he’ll always remember his first search as a fresh Academy grad – an out-of-county search for a mushroom hunter in a forest. “The subject was located alive and well, and it was amazing to see everything come together, including watching a Cal Fire crew cut a trail to the subject’s location in some heavy brush in a matter of minutes,” he says. “I was able to witness the search, the find, the extraction and the subject reuniting with his brother on that search … not a bad first callout.”
Andy’s advice for SAR members serves as good advice in general: “Always trust your gut instinct and your training,” he says. “I’ve doubted my skills a few times at both trainings and on a search, and realized that I shouldn’t have. If something feels right, go with it. If something feels wrong, don’t ignore it.”