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NON-FICTION 

Carolyn has written several books of non-fiction.  

 

To The Rescue! True Stories of Rescue and Survival 
Dundurn Press, 2005
Heroic Rescue at Sea 
Nimbus Publishing, 2002

To the Rescue! True Stories of Tragedy and Survival

This book of true stories shows ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events: a ski accident, a missing child, a fall overboard, a slip off a mountain - dramas that take place in the wilds of snow-bound Labrador, in lonely Chilliwack, on a frozen lake high in the Sierra Nevadas, in the heart of a big city and on the coast of California...It is about the lives of rescuers - adrenaline junkies, yes - who search for life's meaning while engaging in deeds of heroism and compassion. It is about the aftermath of rescue for both rescuer and rescued.

Many rescuers are reluctant to tell their stories. They say that what we call heroism is just something they do. But how many of us, even with the appropriate skills, are willing to dive under ice in black and dirty rivers to search for a body? To be lowered onto an ice platform high on a mountainside, knowing we could easily fall to our own certain death; dangle on the end of a rope attached to a helicopter at twelve thousand feet; penetrate frozen forests in Labrador in the deep heart of winter to search for those lost within them? These are the things rescuers say:

 

  • I want to give back

  • If you have special skills and don't use them to benefit others, you're selfish

  • You have to help - it could be you, your friend...

  • You feel huge compassion.  You have to help

  • You have a job to do, and you just do it...

  • When you've risked yourself to save someone, it's almost like you have given life...

 

Search and rescue work means not only facing risk, but sacrifice: of time, energy, money, and emotional equilibrium. Physical exhaustion and nightmares are frequent companions, but the rewards are many: joy in the act of giving, of the saving of life. The pitting oneself against odds to overcome danger with the consequent sense of achievement; adding meaning and purpose to life. One enjoys camaraderie with others sharing the same vision, passion, ideals and values. Bonding occurs and runs very deep. Sometimes, rescuer and rescued form lifelong friendships. For many, search and rescue work is an all-consuming passion. 

Heroic Rescues at Sea: True Stories of the Canadian Coast Guard

As all seafarer's know, the sea can be a treacherous place. Over the course of human history, its unpredictability, violence and awesome power have claimed untold numbers of lives and ships. But because inland seas and oceans are unimpeded highways of commerce and pleasure as well as a major source of food, they continue to lure ships of all kinds, and people of all callings, into danger. 

Fortunately for those who face disaster at sea there is a highly trained group of people who make it their life's work to race to the rescue. These are the marine search and rescue workers of the Canadian Coast Guard. They do what most of us would not even contemplate...
 

True Stories of Rescue and Survival: Canada's Unknown Hero's

True Stories of Rescue and Survival: Canada's Unknown heroes: Dundurn Press, 2008
 

Inspirational Tales: Carolyn Matthew's third book of true stories is sure to inspire a generation of young readers - and adults too. Its heroes pop up in the Armed Forces and Navy. In the R.C.M.P. and local police forces, and all the rescue workers and specialists for the Canadian Coast Guard. Not least are volunteers who jump in with both feet to rescue others. Most people, if they think about search and rescue workers at all, might suppose they are a bunch of adrenaline junkies who must get their fix. Who else would leap out of aircraft into hostile territory? Defy death on the seas? Dive beneath frozen rivers and dig under avalanches? The truth is that most are quite otherwise. Of course they love physical challenges, but they are also motivated by compassion. Some are on a quest for meaning in life. Others say they want to 'give back.' 

Their expertise is awesome:
A Navy diver defuses bombs and explosives in the Afghan desert
A search and rescue technician (SAR Tech) jumps into an Arctic blizzard
A paramedic as part of a rescue team performs CPR while dangling from a helicopter hovering over jagged British Columbian mountains
An RCMP officer with his highly trained search dog, together with armies of volunteers, searches for a child lost in the forests of New Brunswick
A SAR Tech comes close to death attempting a rescue of fishermen perishing in the cruel North Atlantic
'A quiet hero' in the RCMP never gives up his search for a couple mysteriously missing from their upscale home in North Vancouver
Not least, a prize goat is rescued from Ontario's Welland Canal

Illuminating sidebars spotlight, among other things, the training of search dogs. The equipment used in specialized rescues. Motivation and training. How long-line rescues work and all their difficulties. Navy divers who make a difference in the Afghan desert, and the meaning of such terms as emergency position-indicating radio beacons, SOS, open-and-closed-grid searches, and much more.

Photos illustrate some of the impossibly harsh and difficult conditions in which they operate.