Joshua Araujo was born in Boynton Beach, Florida but raised in Brasilia-DF, Brazil. At the age of 18 Joshua came back to the USA. Joshua then joined the United States Marine Corps in 2011 to become a military police officer. In 2012 he was hand picked to become a K9 handler for 2D LE Battalion Camp Lejeune, NC. He then attended a specialty canine program Specialized Search Dog. In 2014 Joshua received orders to become a Specialized Search Dog trainer instructor where he trained dogs, taught students how to utilize these K9 assets, and procured potential K9s for the program. Josh separated from the Marine Corps in 2017. He joined AASAR in 2017 with his canine Layka, a Dutch Shepherd.
Elizabeth was born and raised in San Antonio, TX and then briefly left to attend college at Texas A&M University where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences. Elizabeth joined Alamo Area SAR in 2015 after deploying to the Wimberley floods that occurred in May 2015. She is currently a graduate student in a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies program. Her Border Collie, Rey, is her first SAR K9 and they are an IPWDA certified Human Remains Detection K9 team.
Certifications – NASAR SARTECH II, IPWDA Certified K9 Handler, Basic Wilderness Search Specialist
Molly Buis grew up in southeast Michigan, where she attended Michigan State University. She joined AASAR in November 2016 on her arrival to San Antonio. Her Labrador, Pippi, is her first SAR K9 and they are working toward certification as a Human Remains Detection K9 team.
Karen was born in Key West, FL. and raised on the Chesapeake Bay. She got to TX as quickly as she could after traveling the world as a Navy wife and mother. Since 1992, home has been Fredricksburg, TX. Karen has been an active community volunteer serving on several non-profit boards. She helped establish the local mentoring program in FISD. After receiving her bloodhound pup, Woodrow, Karen decided to tackle the skill of man-trailing. She joined AASAR in April 2015. Karen and Woodrow are now an IPWDA Man-Trailing certified K9 team.
Certifications – NASAR SARTECH II, IPWDA Certified Trailing K9 Handler, Basic Wilderness Specialist
Mat lived in Michigan until he joined the military after high school. He spent the next 26 years in the military while completing degrees from Ferris State University, the University of South Carolina, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Michigan. He joined the team as a flanker in 2017 after he realized the integral niche it filled for our community.
Philip was born in Tucson, AZ and lived in CA as well. He joined The US Army in 1994 and throughout his 20 years active duty he worked as a Maintenance Control Sergeant, Senior Drill sergeant, Senior Instructor, Master Driver, and Vehicle Recovery Specialist. He served in four Combat tours to Afghanistan and Iraq, and four other overseas tours to Kuwait and Germany. He continues to serve as a volunteer in The Texas State Guard as a Military Emergency Management Specialist (MEMS), Liaison Officer (LNO), and an RBOT Instructor. Phil has worked with other SAR teams since 2014 deploying several times in support of those organizations. In 2016 Phil moved to the San Antonio Area and joined AASAR where he supports the team with logistics, communications, and incident support. Phil currently works for Fisher House Inc. as The House Manager for The Lackland AFB Fisher House. He has a Certificate in Homeland Security/Emergency Management from Pierce College. Phil is married and has three sons.
Certifications- NASAR SARTECH III, FCC Licensed Radio Operator, CERT, LNO, LOFR, EMR, ECA, WFA, GSAR 1, GSAR 2, LSC, ICS 300, ICS 400
Jennifer was born in San Antonio but raised every where else as the daughter of an Air Force father. She has lived in San Antonio since 1991 and joined Alamo Area SAR in 2015. She has been a government contractor for 13 years and works as a database administrator at the Air Force Civil Engineering Center at Lackland AFB. Jennifer and her canine Allie are a certified Human Remains Detection K9 team.
Certifications – NASAR SARTECH II, NASAR Certified Human Remains K9 Handler, and Basic Wilderness Search Specialist
Ben hails from upstate New York but has moved around the country and the world as both an active duty intelligence officer and civilian with the United States Air Force. Ben and his buddy Vigo began training as an wilderness air-scent team in 2015 while stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Ben has deployed to the Middle East and Afghanistan in support of USAF Combat Search and Rescue assets as well as US Special Operations teams in Africa. In 2015 Ben was named USAF civilian of the year. Ben lives in San Antonio with his wife Amy and two sons, Arthur and Alex.
Certifications – IPWDA Ceritified Air Scent K9 Handler
Ryan was born in Manteca, California. He began his military career in July 2005 by joining the United States Air Force as Security Forces. During his twelve years in the Air Force, Ryan was a Unit Deployment Manager at Misawa AB, Japan, Quick Reaction Force member at Camp Bucca, Iraq, a canine handler at Buckley AFB, Colorado as well as a lead trainer and kennel master. He deployed to the Middle East and South America as an explosive and narcotics detection dog handler. He also went on numerous US Secret Service missions with his explosive dogs. He was hand selected to be the AFCENT Military Working Dog program manager over civilian dog teams supporting OEF. In 2014 he PCS’d and was a trainer at the Department of Defense’s Military Working Dog Training Center, Lackland AFB, Texas. In 2016 he was selected to travel overseas vendor sites to decoy and assist in selecting canines for the DoD and TSA. That year he was honorably discharged from the Air Force and accepted as a civilian canine trainer with the Transportation Security Administration. He joined Alamo Area SAR in 2017. Ryan and his K9 Ajax, a German Shepherd, are a certified Human Remains Detection K9 team.
Certifications – NNDDA Certified Human Remains K9 Handler
Sheila was born in Kansas and moved to Texas to attend optometry school in Houston. After graduation she remained in Texas in private practice and recently retired. She has taught pet obedience classes and competed in agility and obedience for over 25 years. After acquiring Vex, her Belgian Malinois, she became interested in SAR and joined Alamo Area SAR in 2017. Vex is in training as an air scent dog and has been joined by Widge, a Dutch Shepherd, who is training in Human Remains Detection.
Orlando was born in Corpus Christi, Texas into a military family. He began his military career in June 1994 joining the United States Army Military Police Corps. During his ten years in the Army, Orlando, was a canine handler at Fort Riley, Kansas as well as a canine trainer and instructor at the Department of Defense’s Military Working Dog Training Center, Lackland AFB, Texas. In 2004, he was honorably discharged from the Army and accepted a civilian canine instructor position with the Department of Defense as an instructor in the Specialized Search Dog (SSD). He joined Alamo Area SAR in 2010. Orlando and his K9, Reme, a Belgian Malinois, are a certified Human Remains Detection K9 team.
Certifications – NASAR SARTECH III, Wilderness Search Specialist, IPWDA Certified Human Remains K9 Handler
Marcel currently serves as University Veterinarian and Director of the Laboratory Animal Resources Center at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He is also the Attending Veterinarian of the START Center for Cancer Care in San Antonio. His educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science, a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine, a joint residency/Master of Science in Comparative Medicine, followed by a fellowship in experimental minimally invasive surgery. Past veterinary appointments include the United States Army, Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Merck, University of Florida and Texas Tech Health Sciences Center. Marcel and Nuru, his Belgian Malinois, are a certified human remains detection team through the International Police Work Dog Association.
Certifications – IPWDA Certified Human Remains K9 Handler
Nancy married Marcel in 1979 and is the mother of three grown children. She has served in various organization as a volunteer such as the Red Cross, Child Advocates San Antonio (CASA), Shands Hospital, VA Hospital and various nursing homes among others. She supports Marcel and Nuru, with their Belgian Malinois, a certified human remains detection dog.
Susan Rodenko was born outside of Chicago Illinois. She was 91P in the U.S. Army during the Gulf war. After the Army she worked as a Radiographer at a level 1 Trauma Center at Northwestern Hospital Chicago. She successfully showed and won awards at the National Level with Great Danes and Paso Fino horses. Her love of dogs and her strong desire to serve culminated in her desire to do search and rescue work. Her main residence is in Midland, Texas. She is currently certified with her bestie, Vuk, in Wilderness Human Remains Detection through IPWDA.
Certifications – IPWDA Certified Human Remains K9 Handler
Erika was born and raised in Pennsylvania. She graduated high school early in 2000 to join and serve in the United States Marine Corp from 2000-2005. Graduated from boot camp as platoon and company honor graduate. Stationed in Camp Pendleton, CA as an Aircraft communications, navigation electrical system technician specializing on Fire Control weapons systems for the AH-1W and UH-1N Helicopter Marine Light Attack Unit. During her service she deployed to Okinawa Japan twice, Thailand twice, Tinnian, South Korea, and one combat deployment to Kuwait and Iraq in 2003 to support OIF/OEF operations. Her HMLA Unit earned a Presidential Unit Citation for the time during their combat deployment. She was Honorably discharged and decorated with six medals from her enlistment. She moved with her husband and now three children to Texas in 2015 and joined AASAR in 2017 after being inspired and led to serve in some way again after Hurricane Harvey. Her K9 Indie is currently being re-evaluated for her position to train toward certification and Erika is in the process of pursuing another K9 more suited to certify.
Melissa, aka “Pony”, was born in Wiesbaden, Germany into a military family. She grew up training horses and went to Missouri State University competing on the Equestrian Team and majoring in Animal Science. She began her military career in July 2008 by joining the United States Air Force as Security Forces. During her ten years, she was an Armorer/Designated Marksman at Incirlik AB, Turkey, a Fire Team leader/Heavy Weapon gunner at Malmstrom AFB, Montana, and a patrol/explosive canine handler at Fairchild AFB, Washington as well as a lead trainer for MWD teams. She deployed multiple times to the Middle East and went on numerous US Secret Service missions with her explosive dogs Glen N733 & Bety R204. She PCS’d in 2015 and became a trainer at the Department of Defense’s Military Working Dog Training Center, Lackland AFB, Texas. During that time she joined Alamo Area Search and Rescue. In 2018, she was medically retired from the Air Force and is now enjoying retirement with her most recent partner, Bety R204. She is an active mentor for the Air Force Wounded Warrior program and plans to continue helping veterans and training dogs with AASAR. Melissa and her K9, Xena, a Belgian Malinois, are a certified Human Remains Detection K9 team.
Certifications – IPWDA Certified Human Remains K9 Handler
Sarah was born in Texas City, TX. but moved around the world until she attended Texas Tech University. She is married with two children and four grandchildren. Her last job was director of the Pregnancy Care Center. She is retired and decided to join Alamo Area SAR during June 2015.
Certifications – NASAR SARTECH II, Wilderness Search Specialist
Racheal Study was born in Denver, Colorado. She joined the United States Marine Corps in 2012 to become a military police officer. She was then stationed in Iwakuni AB, Japan where she was hand selected to become a K9 handler for the United States Marine Corps. While in Japan Racheal was the Kennel Master/ Chief Trainer and had to work in conjunction with the Japanese Nationals. In 2015 Racheal received orders to train dogs for the Department of Defense. Racheal separated from the Marine Corps in 2017 and joined AASAR in 2017.
Born and raised in San Antonio. Served seven years in the US Navy aboard two different aircraft carriers during the Vietnam War. Graduate of St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. Career in senior management positions in major corporations in Human Resources, Labor Relations, Safety and Security positions. SPHR-Emeritus and SHRM-SCP certifications from the Society of Human Resource Management and the HR Accreditation Institute. Football Official for 46 years, working the Referee position. Previously served as the CERT Program Manager for San Antonio. Currently a Commissioner on the Municipal Civil Service Commission for the City of San Antonio, hearing cases of discipline and discharge of city employees. Married with three grown children and one grandchild. Joined Alamo Area SAR in 2013 to continue serving the emergency management community.