Empire State Division Responds to Missing Person Search in Catskill Mountains

August 07, 2017
Michael R. Schwartz | michael.schwartz@use.salvationarmy.org | (315) 434-1367

Empire State Division Responds to Missing Person Search in Catskill Mountains

(Margaretville, New York) The Salvation Army Empire State Division Emergency Disaster Services Team responded on August 3, 2017 to the Margaretville Fire Station in Delaware County to support a missing person search in the Big Indian Wilderness Area of the Northern Catskill Mountain Preserve.

EDS Teams from Sidney, New York, Walton, New York and Empire Divisional Headquarters responded to provide feeding and hydration services to over fifty first responders from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation - Forrest Ranger Division, Environmental Conservation Police, New York State Police, New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Delaware County Office of Emergency Services and 14 area fire departments within four hours of being requested Thursday.

“We continue to be proud to serve side by side with our partners conducting this search in some of the densest forest land I have ever seen.  Our first responders are working in very challenging conditions to find this missing hiker.  We are honored to be here to take care of those who take care of all of us.” Empire Division EDS Director Mike Schwartz said. 

As the search area continued to grow on Friday and Saturday and the number of first responders expanded, additional resources were brought in from across the Division, including Disaster Response Units from Rochester, Canandaigua and Oneonta as well as the Divisional Command Vehicle. 

At the peak of the response, EDS was providing feeding and hydration including lunch and dinner to over 300 first responders from across New York State and from as far as Connecticut and New Jersey.

On Saturday August 5, 2017, at approximately 1:05 pm, the missing hiker was located in good health after four days in the woods and reunited with his family.  Our team then provided a celebratory dinner for all first responders before returning all teams and equipment back in service.

Saturday afternoon, once it was officially reported that the hiker was found and on his way to the hospital, Director Schwartz said “We are beyond happy to have this search come to a successful conclusion.  It speaks volumes to the hard work of all first responders here and to the selfless service of our own teams that we have been able to return this hiker to his family today.  A very proud moment for all of us when the word came out that he was found walking out of the woods under his own power.”

This response continues over 35 straight days of service across 20 counties in Upstate New York, serving at eight flash flood events, three tornadoes and a missing person search.

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