Words cannot fully express the gratitude in my heart for the sheriff, police, fire departments, the search and rescue team, and the volunteers who showed up to help me on Tuesday night, Nov. 16. Like many people in the High Country, I enjoy hiking trails for exercise, but also just the joy in being outdoors.

I was hiking a familiar trail late in the afternoon near Russ Cornett, but I lost my way on the path with all the leaves. Then I lost daylight and decided the safest thing was to stay put until sunrise. Family and friends became concerned and contacted authorities who pulled together some amazing folks to find me that night.

This dedicated crew and volunteers hold my respect and admiration. They are caring heroes who show up when they get the call. In spite of their best efforts, I spent the night in the woods, but was able to find way home at sunrise. I recognize this outcome could have been much worse, and it reiterated for me the need to take safety precautions when hiking alone.

The rescue team and volunteers are invaluable and represent the caring spirit of this community. They are our family, our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers — the heart of the community. Thanks for the efforts, prayers, and good thoughts that night. I am forever changed and grateful.

Mary Beth McKee


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