|Scotty Meyer - FOUND!|
At about 1 p.m. on July 3, I happened to catch a Facebook message from a former junior high school classmate now living in Prescott, Wis. She has an autistic son and is very close to the Meyer family, also of Prescott, who have an autistic son, Scotty. Scotty was missing.
Scotty's mother had been talking to an air conditioner repairman around noon when he slipped outside, possibly with his two older autistic brothers, and then wandered off. His mother had been looking for him without any luck and the Pierce County sheriff's office had been called in. The messages on Facebook urged people to be on the look out for him. Then, within the hour, a search command center had been mobilized.
The situation was particulary urgent. This summer's weather has been unseasonably hot with record high temperatures. That day was particularly brutal--nearing one hundred degrees with high humidity and a high UV index. Adding to the sense of urgency was the fact that Scotty was non-verbal and only five years old. The area where he disappeared was only 200 yards from railroad tracks and the Mississippi River, both attractive points of interest for a child.
So I was simply heartsick to learn at 3 p.m. that Scotty still hadn't been found. The heat and sun were so intense; I worried that this little boy had been outside far too long without water or that he may have tried to go swimming in the river. Both sounded grim.
It lifted my spirits to hear that hundreds of volunteers, many from my home town, had been turning out to help the sheriff's office search. It was the day before a holiday with record heat and people only wanted to help. Many brought in bottled water, snacks and tents for the searchers. Others showed up on horseback or with dogs and ATVs. They stumbled down hills and fought through wooded areas in the heat to help find this little boy.
By about 6 p.m., I was finally available to help search, so I checked Facebook for another update. I learned that volunteers were being turned away. A professional that I know in search and rescue said this sometimes happens when the number of searchers becomes unmanageable. It made sense. The sheriff had also decided to bring in additional resources, such as heat-seeking helicopters, for the night search. I was relieved that the search hadn't yet been called off. But by the time night fell, I was painfully aware that there was a scared little boy outside in the dark not knowing how to find his way home. And parents who didn't know where their son was. It effected me deeply; I couldn't sleep.
I'm posting this story because, two weeks later, I am still touched by the number of heroes who showed up to make a difference to one missing person. I am pleased to hear about such a large and complicated search being coordinated so well. And I'm glad to hear of a happy ending.
|Photo Credit: Jason Moser. |
Republished from Twin Cities.com.