Thank you to Lawrence County’s first responders

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 1, 2012

I recently ventured into beautiful Wayne National Forest about 1 p.m. on a hot June afternoon. It was about 103 degrees.

I was confident I knew the eight-mile trail and had water for four hours — even assuming I may get a little lost.

However, after veering off the trail for about three miles, I found myself 13 miles into what was to be an 8 mile hike by 5:30 p.m., just as my water ran out. I was feeling quite disoriented by 7 p.m. and my body would not go on. I decided to find a flat place and wait it out.

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After my family did a preliminary search around 8 p.m., they called the park ranger. Within 20 minutes of that call about 17 people from the Ohio State Highway Patrol (including helicopter support), Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office (including Sheriff Jeff Lawless), Coal Grove Fire Department, Elizabeth and Decatur Township Fire Departments, and Lawrence County EMS assembled.

They kept my wife informed the entire time, and by midnight, they located me — dirty, quite dehydrated and very glad to see them!

I apologize if I did not mention any organization who showed up.

I take this time to thank each person who showed up to help me out of a very bad situation. Each of them were professional and courteous.

As I thanked them profusely, each said, “That’s what we’re here for.” Sometimes we do not give enough credit to our first responders for their role, not just against crime, but assisting us when our daring decisions aren’t the best.

A sincere “thank you” to each of you for your courteousness, understanding and devotion to duty.

Tony Burge, Sr.