Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Are those "Incidentals" necessary? (In response to a letter from Mary J. Proffitt.)

Dear Editor

I am a mother who knows how desperately important those incidentals are. Ironically I wrote this article two days before Ms. Proffitt had hers published in the paper and after reading her misinformation felt more compelled than ever to have this published.

On May 19, 2007, my son will graduate from Bronaugh High School. I realize this is not an unusual thing every spring many hundreds of sons and daughters graduate. However, just 16 years ago my son came very close to not graduating from high school or even going to kindergarten. On an unusually cool, rainy July day in 1991, I let my little boy go out to play in a mud puddle. He had just turned 2-years-old only the day before I had picked up his 2 year old pictures. It was such a lovely cool day with the rain and we were enjoying being outside. Then the unthinkable happened, I stepped in the house for only a moment and when I came out, my son was gone. We lived on a very large farm surrounded by fields, timber, ponds and creeks. My first instinct was to run to the pond, where we had gone fishing many times, but I could not find my son.

The hardest call I ever made in my life was to call the emergency number to report my son was lost. Law enforcement, neighbors, friends and Vernon County Ambulance over 100 people came to search. But in 1991, there was no Search and Rescue Team in Vernon County. My memory of that morning is everyone wanted desperately to help but there was no organization, no deliberate purpose. Four agonizing hours later, my son was found about a mile from the house in a soybean field, very cold and muddy, but perfectly healthy and unharmed. How lucky our family was! Thirteen years later I attended the Search and Rescue training session. As I listened to James McKenzie tell the story of the little boy who was lost on a cool, rainy July day, I realized he was speaking of my son and the inspiration that came from that experience to form a trained Search and Rescue Team in Vernon County. No, thankfully, this group is not needed often, but I am very proud to be part of it when it is. The agony of a member of your family being lost cannot be described on paper, but at least we have someone to call and lean on during that terrible time.

So, is Search and Rescue necessary?

I suppose not if you have never needed it, but what if you needed help to find your loved one? The Search and Rescue Team will be activated as soon as you make the hardest call you will ever make. There are no "incidentals" when a life is saved.

Please make an informed decision when voting on Operation: Proposition Lifesaver on April 3.

-- Jeri Senkevech

First Responder

Vernon County Ambulance District