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Common Ground: Mountain rescue group honors three pioneers

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Three Chelan County Mountain Rescue pioneers — Bill Asplund, Gene Ellis and Freeman Keller — were honored by the organization recently for their many years of dedication to saving lives in the North Cascades.

Ellis, a long-time deputy with the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office who recently retired, played a crucial role of coordinating rescues from some of the most rugged terrain in the region. Shawn Ballard, co-owner of Ballard Ambulance, described Ellis as someone who “always kept his head and was methodical about getting good information and putting a good plan together” for rescues. The sheriff’s office has primary responsibility for rescues but works closely with the Mountain Rescue volunteers.

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