Searcher Spotlight: Tamie Hirata

The dynamic duo of Ed Molascon and Bryan Walley, staffing a recruitment table in front of REI, brought SAR to the attention of Tamie Hirata some years ago. It was the first she had heard of the organization, and she was intrigued. Mostly, she thought she might get involved with the canine unit, since she had a dog adept at tracking.

Unfortunately, the pup was also adept at finding (and sharing) poison oak, something to which Tamie is extremely allergic. Thus, the dog training came off the table, but the rest of SAR did not. Tamie signed up in 2007.

She says SAR has given her the opportunity to gain many skills and grow her knowledge base, but she is still seeking her SAR niche: “I feel like there’s so much to learn.”

Tamie grew up in Walnut Creek, attended UC Berkeley, lived briefly in Vallejo and is now settled in Martinez. Though she has a yen for traveling and adventure, she hasn’t strayed far from her youthful home except on side trips around the country with family.

The exception was in March, when she took a trip to Cambodia with youngest son and fellow SAR member Alden, where they helped at a “Feed and Read” school. She loved the experience and hopes to do more. The need to explore is always with her, and she loves the outdoors.

Fortunately, her job with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District as an air-quality inspector allows her to enjoy the latter and SAR gives her opportunities for both.

Meanwhile, SAR provides Tamie with the venue for reaching out to others while also staying close to her family, both priorities for her. (Husband, Alan, and daughter, Tori, are also SAR members. Eldest son Alex is not—yet.)

Tamie covets a teaching career, because she so loves working with children and youth. SAR connects with that aspect of her life, too. In fact, her first search was for a young autistic man.

“We were out all night, and one of the CoCo SAR teams found him,” she says. “That was an incredible feeling, and cemented my resolve to continue with SAR.”