The other day I mentioned the local 8 year old Autistic boy who was lost, and all the Search and Rescue volunteers who were out looking for him.
Today, 120 hours after he disappeared in extremely rugged terrain... a Civil War battlefield park bordering a river, filled with trenches and crevasses, bordering a quarry operation, temps in the 40s several nights, an area populated with bobcats and coyotes... he was found alive, and in remarkably good health. Robert Woods doesn't speak, and in all likelihood, never knew that he was lost. His mind does not work that way. Today was cold and rainy, and tonight will dip down near freezing. If he had not been found today, tonight would probably have killed him. It truly is a miracle that he was found alive.
I'm old friends with many of the public safety folks who have been involved with the search, and I've known a few of the volunteers too. By my rough estimate, there were about 45,000 man hours spent over the past week by these folks who really gave of themselves to find this little boy.
There is no logical reason why this little boy survived. There are a whole lot of "normal" children and grown adults who would not have survived 120 hours in these conditions with the clothes on their backs and no training in wilderness survival. I truly believe that God kept this boy safe and alive, and He used this ordeal to bring the people of this region together in prayer.
Here is what what we know so far of Robert's remarkable survival.
But what about other kids? We need to spread the message and the skills to ensure all children recieve a basic level of training in wilderness survival. A message as simple as staying put if lost (and in a relatively safe location), having a whistle and a water bottle, and using the environment to provide shelter, can keep a child alive long enough for rescue. As for children with Autism or other developmental disorders, parents can work with their local law enforcement or rescue squads to get GPS trackers for the kids to wear if they are prone to wandering.