Nick Marek and Lorrie Scherrer were not setting out on a night hike on Aug. 27 with any intention of assisting in a mountain rescue, but somehow that's exactly what happened.
"It started out as just a get together," said Marek, a junior at Desert Vista High School. "We had gone out to dinner and she had the great idea of going on a night hike.
"We got there and we saw (fire) Engine 46 parked out front. We passed two of the guys and we saw a couple others just at the trailhead. We asked them what was going on and they said there was a man somewhere within the canyon, and they'd been searching for a while and hadn't found him yet. They told us to keep an eye out. We said, ‘OK, we'll keep an eye out.'"
Scherrer, a senior at Mountain Pointe, says she didn't think much of it. They went along, talking, and sticking to the trail when Nick heard someone whistling.
"He started whistling back, and I tried but I can't whistle," Scherrer said. "We're still walking and we keep hearing the whistling back and forth, and then Nick sees the green flashlight almost near the top of the mountain."
Marek used his own flashlight to signal to the light they saw up on the mountain and, eventually, realized they had found the lost hiker.
"He hands me the flashlight and tells me to hold it right there and not move," Scherrer said. "He goes down and tells the firefighters, and I'm still standing up there. It was a big moment. We helped find him within minutes of when we arrived on our hike."
The two stayed long enough to make sure the rescue crew got up to the man, but because a dust storm was rolling in they decided to head home.
Reports aren't clear what happened to the man. He was definitely lost and may have been diabetic, or twisted his ankle. Once he was down he was transported to his car, according to Scott McDonald of the Phoenix Fire Department.
Still, firefighters of Engine 46 were pretty impressed with the two teens willing and aware enough to help find the lost hiker. The rescue had been dragging on for hours, it was dark, and one of the firefighters of Engine 46 said the hiker was in such a place it would have been nearly impossible for him to spot. To show their thanks, the firefighters invited the two teens back to the station and gave each a plaque with a certificate of appreciation.
Marek says he was just trying to help.
"Going back to it, it was more of an excitement to be part of a rescue situation," Marek said. "I didn't expect anything to come out of it, I was just doing what I could do as a citizen to help out. These guys have a hard job."
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