Last evening, around 5, I noticed neighbors gathering on the street in front of our house, pointing in various directions and looking a bit agitated. So, curious about what might be up, I joined the group. As it turned out, one of our neighbors, a few houses down the hill from us, had gone missing. He had indicated he was going for a walk, didn’t return and could not be found. He is an elderly man, given to visiting around the neighborhood. The thought was that he may have wandered off somewhere into the deep forest that mixes in and around most of our foothill habitat homes.
After a bit of consultation, I took it upon myself to begin to walk the one-mile perimeter of our block, checking the deep ditches, brushy entrances to the forest and private driveways where nobody seemed to be home. Perhaps he had taken a fall on someone’s property without their knowing it. In a short period of time there was a growing group of neighbors joined by the Sheriff’s personnel with a helicopter overhead hunting everywhere in the dimming daylight, until darkness set in around 10.
Overnight the hunt continued. Search and Rescue, along with their wonderful dogs, joined in the exploration. By daylight a fresh team of searchers from around the county showed up to take charge of the hunt. Fortunately, the overnight temperature was mild, dry and darkness is short this time of year, with daylight beginning around 4:30.
Around 8:30 this morning word began to spread that he may have been found. The Search and Rescue team is very careful about the information they release until confirmed. So, I worked my way in the direction it seemed he may have been found, and finally see a cluster of searchers and neighbors in the back of a horse property a few houses downhill from us where some of our friends live.
Yes, he had been found and was conscious, talking, and in good spirits. He had in fact strolled past our friend’s house, not finding them home for a chat, and continued to the back where a steep slope drops down to Bear Creek. Apparently, he lost his footing and rolled downhill into a thicket and was unable to move due to an injured leg. He spent the night there undisturbed.
Eventually in the light of day, he was located by the searchers. The methodology of Search and Rescue is amazing. How quickly, thoroughly and efficiently they can spread out and cover all possible locations is a credit to their training, determination, and leadership.
It was a great pleasure to thank these wonderful members of our greater community who show up and get the job done, when hope is fading and time is running out. What a comfort to know they are available at a moment’s notice, with their values in place to be a bunch of everyday heroes.
Bless them all!