Article originally Published by Whittier Daily News
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Scout leaders use training to help distressed hikers
WHITTIER- Scout leaders Lonnie Wold and Mike Taylor recently put into practice what they have trained scouts to do for years.
Last week as they led a group of seven scouts from Whittier Boy Scout Troop 54 backpacking on Mt.Whitney, the two men rescued a teen and his father as well as another male over a 12-hour period of time. “It was God’s plan,” said a modest Wold, who originally became a scout leader for his son about 20 years ago. The troop, which included three other scout leaders, had set camp and was having dinner, when scouts spotted a young man collapse on the trail 30 feet in front of them.
Alarmed, Wold and Taylor first approached the adult male, who turned out to be the teen’s father, to give assistance.
“The boy, Simeon, was very incoherent,” Wold said. After observing him,Taylor and Wold surmised the teen was suffering from severe dehydration. They gave him water, and offered to go for help. The father, Norm, insisted on trying to get himself and his son back down the trail.Wold and Taylor did not like that idea, but did not want to go against the father’s wishes. “We were distraught when the dad didn’t take us up on our offer,” Wold said.
They didn’t get very far.
At about 9:30 p.m., after securing the father and son in a tent, Wold and Taylor went down the summit, in the dark with only head lamps and flashlights. Along the way, they asked those they encountered if they had cell phone service. “We knew our troop was safe with the other leaders, and we had the strongest legs to make the trek after a day of hiking,” Wold said. On the way down the mountain, they encountered another family of three, with the father not looking so well. The man’s 16-year-old daughter, Janine, asked for help. “She was distraught and asked if we could help get her father (Dave) down,” Wold said. “He wasn’t doing well, very disoriented.” They got the Woodland Hills family to their car, and then went looking for help for Simeon. Rescuers were on a search and rescue, so they were not quickly available.
At 2 a.m., they found out that rescuers had located Simeon and his father and they were doing well.
They reunited with their troop at 6:30 a.m. “We were able to help them because of our training,”Taylor said. “We were prepared.”
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