Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Mt. Hood Rescuers Deserve A Huge Thanks

Hood River Sheriff, Joe Wampler, very regretfully and sadly called off the search for the two missing Mt. Hood mountain climbers today, who even the families seem to be accepting as likely presumed dead, perhaps as a result of an accident such as falling off a 2,500 foot high glacier, or under an avalanche.

Sheriff Joe Wampler is intend a tough man, who has heroically kept order in his county of Hood River for years, as well as led many other search attempts both for missing persons or even dangerous wanted persons. But even this brave and tough man could barely contain his tears and sadness. He so much wanted to bring back two live survivors of this tragic mountain climbing accident. This sheriff helped to keep the rescue attempts running, days after hope appeared to be fading. The news media also helped to keep the rescue attempts alive by making a major public interest story out of this, maintaining public support for continued efforts to rescue these mountain climbers long after hope was beginning to fade. Yesterday, Sheriff Wampler and other rescuers were deeply concerned when a camera carried by deceased contained photos of only limited mountain climbing gear and supplies. This meant that food or vital supplies were not adequate for long survival, or a safe downhill climb from this very dangerous side of Mt. Hood in very cold and windy winterlike conditions including wind gusts up to about 100mph.

The American public and the families of the missing mountain climbers owe a huge thankyou to Sheriff Wampler and the other police, National Guard unit members, volunteers and others who braved frostbite injuries and risked their own lives in this very dangerous search and rescue mission. Some of the National Guardsmen are veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Some of their helicopters were used in these wars. And the danger they faced on Mt. Hood was just as serious as dangers in Iraq or Afghanistan. The value of a human life is so high in the United States that every life matters, and the rescuers really put their lives in danger to find these missing climbers. The public can never repay this bravery and the very determined search efforts. On behalf of all Americans, Thank you.


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