News Flash

Sheriff's Office

Posted on: June 24, 2022

Headwaters Rescue Authority: Formed Out of Tragedy

Headwaters Rescue Authority Official Signing Ceremony in 2021


June 24, 2022


GRAND COUNTY, CO – Seven years ago on July 3, 2015, a tragedy unexpectedly hit a beloved local family. Dee and Rick Mullinex would come to learn that their adult son, Christopher Eugene, drowned after jumping into Lake Granby at a depth of what would have appeared to be safe at 40 – 50 feet during a seemingly normal fun summer afternoon. Chris’s body was not discovered and recovered until after three days of searching and waiting for available out-of-county resources. 

The devastation of losing her son to drowning compounded with the anguish of waiting for his body to be recovered and brought home to be buried, ignited a deep passion in Dee Mullinex to ensure that no family ever experiences that again in Grand County. From this tragic event, the Christopher Mullinex Water Rescue Fund was created. The primary mission is to provide funds for equipment, training and public education regarding water safety so that every person that enjoys Grand County’s lakes comes home safely. 

It is through our shared and painful memories that we move forward together. 

In 2021, the Grand County Board of County Commissioners signed Resolution 2021-7-38, in conjunction with the local Fire Districts, East Grand Fire Protection District #4, Grand Lake Fire Protection District and Grand Fire Protection District No. 1, which therein created and formed the Headwaters Rescue Authority (HWRA) intergovernmental agreement (IGA) to establish a county-wide, multi-agency water rescue authority to respond to water rescue emergencies throughout the county, and if requested, as mutual aid to other jurisdictions. The HWRA is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of one representative appointed by each of the members of the IGA which would include a representative from each of the special Fire Protection Districts, a representative appointed from the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, and a representative appointed from the Grand County Emergency Medical Services Chief. The purpose in creating the IGA was to coordinate and jointly mitigate, plan, prepare and respond to surface water emergencies and operations through funding, training, patrol, response, and public education. As numerous Grand County governmental agencies are involved, any activation of the HWRA would be considered mutual aid within the county. 

“The heartfelt strength and unwavering dedication of a mother’s love has been felt with every word and step bravely taken by Dee Mullinex.” Expressed Sheriff Brett Schroetlin, “The formation of the Headwaters Rescue Authority marks a pivotal moment in the history of Grand County and allows our first responders to respond to emergencies in our bodies of water with the same care and compassion that we would for any other type of emergency.”

Dee Mullinex shared, “Remember water safety so everyone who enjoys our lakes comes home safely."

On behalf of the Christopher Mullinex Water Rescue Fund, Dee Mullinex recently advised the HWRA board of a $25,000 donation that had been received to support the purchase of a new rescue boat. 

Tax-deductible donations are gratefully accepted to provide support and funding for ongoing training, equipment and operational needs. Checks can be made payable to Headwaters Rescue Authority and mailed to Grand Fire Protection District No. 1, P.O. Box 338, Granby, CO 80446. 


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