We Astorians have an extraordinary resource right across the Columbia River, the Washington state Search and Rescue Team. The level of commitment, compassion, knowledge and abilities of this group of primarily volunteers is outstanding. 

I speak from personal experience, because the SAR team rescued my husband and three dogs from a treacherous ravine in the woods around Naselle, Wash., Sept. 23. It took more than two hours to carry my husband out of the ravine, and one of the searchers spent another hour and a half trying to coax our 7-pound Yorkshire terrier out of the ravine - after he had searched for my husband all night. 

I never dreamed that we would be in this situation. I could not put into words the emotions I felt during that night. Because my husband has walked the woods all his life, I thought for certain that he was badly hurt when he didn't come home after dusk. Throughout the night, members of the rescue team, the commander of the team, John Ashley, and Deputy Paul Jacobson and Sheriff John Didion would offer words of comfort and encouragement, making sure that I was OK. I will never forget their kindness.

The professionalism, finely tuned organizational skills, and expertise of the team members was fantastic. The level of on-the-spot evaluation and planning was very impressive. My husband Tom and I would like to thank each person on the Washington Search and Rescue team and Commander John Ashley, the Washington State Sheriff's Department, especially Paul Jacobson and Sheriff John Didion, the Coast Guard helicopter pilots who were on their way to the site from Portland when the team found my husband, and the Jack Smith family who opened their doors to a desperate stranger on that night. You will always have a special place in our hearts.

LAURA and TOM LENHARDT

Lucy, Macaroni and Mrs. Bean

Astoria

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