Santa Barbara search teams Eric Gray with his canine, Riley, and Linda Tacconelli with her dog, Joe, plan to attend Saturday’s groundbreaking ceremony for a facility to train more rescuers like them.

The teams recently were called to search a Santa Barbara house flattened after a truck hauling gravel lost control of its brakes and plowed into the residence. A family of three died in the accident.

The Search Dog Foundation will hold the ceremony at the site of the future national training center in Santa Paula.

“The theme of this historic day is, ‘We have not forgotten,’” said Janet Reineck, foundation development director. “At the event, we will be honoring those who perished at the World Trade Center disaster, those who served in response to the tragedy, and all of the heroes — canine and human — who risk their lives to save others.”

Reineck said the center will provide a critical resource to the Santa Barbara and Ventura communities, as well as the nation.

“It will be the only facility of its kind in the nation — a place where rescued dogs are trained to become rescuers, and where all of the country’s canine search teams receive the advanced training they need to respond to the most demanding disaster scenarios,” she said.

Also in attendance will be Southern California teams who responded to the Haiti earthquake and helped save 12 people buried beneath the rubble.

“Privately funded, the center will be built at no cost to the government or to taxpayers, and will bring the local community, and all Americans, a resource they need and deserve,” Reineck said.

Noozhawk business writer Ray Estrada can be reached at