BONNE TERRE, MO (KFVS) - There's a new group of people in southeast Missouri that are ready to respond to missing persons cases.
The Mineral Area Search and Rescue Team waits on-call until they're dispatched by law enforcement.
They are a centrally located group of people in the Heartland who are trained to look for people like the hunter who loses his way or a patient with Alzheimer's disease who might venture from a nursing home.
What makes this search and rescue team different from your average volunteer, is that they take 16-hour course that teaches them to find that needle in a haystack.
"We train our people to look for clues," search and rescue instructor Rick Myers said. "If you can find the clues, that narrows down the search area that helps us find that person... When we do the class we look for playing cards in the woods, you look for poker chips and dominoes hidden in the woods. If you can find those you can find that person."
Before now, the Heartland area had a lack of these trained searchers.
"We have dogs," Myers said. "We have search management teams. We have trained searchers. We network together with the state of Illinois. We can bring in 500 people if we need to."
However, volunteers said it's a call they don't necessarily want to receive.
"When you first get called, first of all, you hope that you don't have to go," Bonnie Myers said. "You hope this person is found while you're getting your gear ready."
In the past, some of the members have assisted with the Jacque Waller and Lynn Messer searches.
The group meets at the Bonne Terre Airport the third Monday of each month.
People interested in becoming a certified searcher there are classes held throughout the year.
The next session is Nov. 8 in Metropolis.
You can find more information about the classes here.