Gene Ralston and his wife left their home in southwestern Idaho less than a week after he had a coronary angioplasty, putting another 2,400 miles on their motorhome while traveling to and from Canada with their aluminum boat.
Ralston's doctor told him to take it easy, but the trip was just too important.
"We left to go find Ralph," Ralston said.
Ralph Der, 59, drowned in early August while fishing at a lake in British Columbia. Although he had never met the Ralstons, they would become intimately involved with the man's family while working to recover his body from the lake floor.
The Ralstons initially worked with watercrafts, dogs and GPS coordinate systems, but their searches for drowning victims became more exact 12 years ago after they started using side-scanning sonar developed with technology similar to that used in medical ultrasounds.