Virginia Airborne Search and Rescue Squad (VASARS)
10503 Wakeman Dr., Manassas
When and why did you decide to join VASARS?
I joined VASARS in 2013 after hearing a presentation to our church men’s group by the founder, Kevin Rychlik.
How does VASARS serve the local community?
VASARS provides helicopter and drone airborne search and rescue services to law enforcement, U.S. Coast Guard, and other first response agencies, primarily in counties that can’t afford airborne SAR assets themselves. We are 100% volunteer, and 100% donor supported, receiving no taxpayer funding. We are currently in the process of raising funds to replace our helicopter’s rotors, which have exceeded their allowable life. We greatly appreciate every business or individual who wants to help get us back in the air.
Please share one of the greatest moments you’ve experienced with this nonprofit.
The very best part of working with VASARS is the moment when we get to inform a family that their missing person has been found alive and well. That makes all the work, training, and fundraising we do to prepare worthwhile.
Tell us about your experience with the HGBA. How has it supported VASARS?
VASARS is a newcomer to HGBA, and we are very excited by the opportunities it has provided for us to spread the word about our mission and interact with local business owners. Small business owners are among our most valued and ardent supporters. Without them, we would not be able to continue flying to save lives.
What are the top three business tips and tricks can you offer others?
As a non-profit, we’re not really in it for the business, but we do work hard to try to meet as many people in the community as possible, and let them know how we help the community.
Are you from this area? If not, what brought you here and what do you like about our town?
Though I’m not originally from Virginia, my family moved to Alexandria in 1979, so I’ve been here longer than anywhere else. We’ve lived in Haymarket for 9 years, and Manassas for 17 years before that.
What is your favorite season in this area, and why?
Any time there’s decent weather. Virginia has its appeal year-round.
What are some hobbies you enjoy?
I enjoy aerial photography, “normal” photography, and audio-visual production. I’m also a part-time audiobook narrator.
What is your favorite restaurant?
Probably Tony’s NY Pizza. We’ve been going there for 28 years now.
What is your favorite local high school sports team?
My daughter went to Battlefield, so I have to say we’re Bobcat fans. On the other hand, our chief’s son went to Patriot, so there’s some Patriot pride around as well.
What was your first job, or your most interesting job to date?
I currently provide air support coordination for VASARS, which often puts me in situations I wouldn’t have expected, interacting with law enforcement and other agencies. It’s challenging, but also very rewarding.