Editorial: A search every timeThe Fourth of July fireworks, while grand this year, paled in comparison to the explosion of joy seen that morning when searchers found Scotty Meyer.
The Fourth of July fireworks, while grand this year, paled in comparison to the explosion of joy seen that morning when searchers found Scotty Meyer.
We commend the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office, the numerous other emergency responders and the hundreds and hundreds of citizens who scoured Oak Grove township for 21 hours. Thanks to all of them, the Hiawatha Valley community can rejoice that the 5-year-old is home after a brief stay in the hospital.
When the Meyer family called emergency dispatch July 3, personnel immediately responded. Any parent can empathize with the terror Dick and Barbara Meyer felt when their youngest son, who is autistic, wandered off. Their anxiety and the community’s rose in proportion to the temperature as more and more people rushed to the scene with each passing hour.
Add to the 100-degree heat all the surrounding hazards — steep bluffs, speeding freight trains, the Mississippi River — and you know people’s desperation. They wanted to search through the night, but the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, as the lead agency, correctly ordered civilians home for their safety.
Still, authorities weren’t alone because the Bay City sand mine’s entire third shift, complete with light-equipped helmets, spent the night searching.
Technology definitely helped the professionals, too, as deputies used a mobile command center, GIS map resources, aircraft and heat-sensing thermal cameras. There also was the ability to patch all departments' communication gear onto the same channel — something the region didn’t have locally just a couple years ago.
In the end, however, it was man and man’s best friend who saved the day.
Told to return at dawn, citizens did so en masse. They assembled Wednesday morning at Prescott school awaiting instructions and assignment to another 15-member search crew.
Jason Moser and his golden retriever, Autumn, found Scotty covered with ticks and mosquito bites but alive beneath a tree around 8 a.m.
Sometimes it takes a massive search party and resulting media fanfare to remind the community at large just what we have here.
We wonder if people realize that law enforcement regularly responds to 911 calls involving missing children. There was one Sunday in Red Wing. Neighbors, as happened for the Meyer family, helped search, and police found the boy within the hour.
You can rest assured that officers, deputies and firefighters seek high and low each and every time. And, as people demonstrated last week, your friends and your neighbors are there to answer the call, “We need searchers.”