Family of Lake Dillon drowning victim raises money for sonar |

Family of Lake Dillon drowning victim raises money for sonar

Caitlin Row
Summit County, Colorado
Special to the Vail DailyAdam Brown

SUMMIT COUNTY – When Adam Brown died in a boating accident last August, his parents vowed to honor his memory – the fun and happy boy who loved his mountain home – by buying side-scan sonar for Summit County.

“We were so impressed with it,” Debbie Brown said, noting that after using the side-scan sonar for only a few hours in Dillon Reservoir, her son’s body was located in 47 feet of water. “It’s our thought that it can save Summit County valuable time and money.”

Debbie and Greg Brown so far have raised $17,150 since last summer to help the Summit County Sheriff’s Office Water Rescue Unit buy the high-tech, and expensive, sonar equipment. Purchasing the new equipment will cost upwards of $40,000 and, according to Debbie Brown, there’s currently only one side-scan sonar available to northwest Colorado.

Twenty-six-year-old Adam Brown fell overboard into the reservoir and drowned on Aug. 6, 2008. Water-rescue crews searched for three days before borrowing a side-scan sonar from Colorado State Parks. The Browns were forced to stay by the reservoir that whole time while crews searched for their missing son.

“If they had it right away, it could save a family from heart break,” Debbie Brown said. “When it’s your son, you do want that body retrieved.”

Greg Brown, Adam’s father, also noted that having side-scan sonar is safer for search-and-rescue divers because it can take detailed pictures of the reservoir in a grid format.

Debbie Brown agreed: High-elevation diving can be dangerous, she said. With side-scan sonar, divers will know the exact location of what they’re diving for, and thus limit the danger.

The Browns hope that by purchasing sonar for the county, neighboring towns in Colorado will benefit as well.

Checks can be mailed to the Adam Brown Memorial, Summit County Sheriff’s Office, Water Rescue Unit, P.O. Box 210, Breckenridge, CO 80424.

“Losing Adam has been unbearable, but knowing you are remembering him brings a smile to our face, and helps to fill our hearts, by the love you show,” wrote Adam’s parents on the Adam Brown Memorial Fund website.

To donate funds online, visit

“Every little bit of money that comes in is excellent,” Debbie Brown said.

Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at

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