Monday, October 5, 2009

Sunday Search


Nesta and I have joined a Search and Rescue Team. I have been training for 2 months- twice a week, sometimes +30 hours a week. After proving that I was indeed committed, Nesta was finally invited to train with me. The team often trains at Norristown State Hospital. (A mental institution built circa 1880 consisting of 26 brick buildings all connected underground by tunnels.) I feel protected with the numerous K9's, but get creeped out when the sunsets. I'm still waiting for an escape ghost patient to breath down my neck. All of this leads me to our tasks. Should somebody become lost for what ever reason, the local authorities call GPSAR. We descend on the scene, K9's in tow. Equipped with tools and know how to find a missing person in an orderly and professional manner.

Sunday, we were to train at Fort Washington State Park, but a call came in for a missing man along the banks of Darby Creek. A young man had been out at night partying with some family and some how fallen in the creek. The evening's events included drugs, drinking and some bad decisions. GPSAR arrived at the scene ready to search. Some of the handlers went out on the boats with their dogs while others worked the banks. When I saw the firefighters getting the rescue basket, I knew he'd been found. Dead. My heart sank and the adrenaline which had been surging though my blood turned to fear. I didn't want to see a dead person. But I knew I'd have to face it and learn the procedures of body recovery. A sad part of the job. We walked to the bank of the creek. I followed behind, slinking between the trees and team members, hoping that maybe the task would already be taken care of before I got there. Nope. I watched as they pulled this young man from the river. I suppose that rescue workers have to learn to accept the sight a dead body. This young man had made some bad decisions and now was gone. Life snuffed out. A tragedy for the family. If anything, it was a hard lesson about the gift of life for me. A moment to slow down. Be thankful for everything and moment that we get and-If anybody finds themselves lost or looking, GPSAR will be there to search.


Nancy MacDonald Ryder said...

Dearest Julie,

I am very proud of your commitment, and how you are choosing to participate in this life. Love you

MaskedMan said...

Tough, tough, tough. But without you searchers, whom would have gotten him home to family, live or dead? They have grief, but they also have him back.

Carry on courageously.