Erie Resident found near the Kinzua State Park “thanks” PSP and VFDs for his rescue

Dave Parker remains an active hunter at the age of seventy-six.  Parker said that he began hunting in McKean County thirty-five years ago.  Parker would travel from Erie, PA to his camp in Kushequa, PA to hunt the area.

On November 26th, snow fell as Dave Parker went into the familiar woods to scout off the old railroad grade near Mount Alton at 2:30 PM.  While scouting, Parker realized that he was unsure of his whereabouts.  Retired Navy Veteran, Dave Parker, called 911 for help.  “911 operator knew what she was doing and did a great job,” said Parker.  “And she stayed in touch with me.”

Parker said that he didn’t plan on scouting for a long period of time and did not take food or anything to start a fire.  Trying to keep warm, Parker said he found a section of a road and walked back and forth, moving his shoulders to raise his body heat.

“They were pinging my phone to find me,” said Parker.  “I was found on the other side of the Kinzua Bridge.  It was dark and I couldn’t see the bridge.  I couldn’t see anything.

“The Mount Jewett Volunteer Fire Department, Lafayette Volunteer Fire Department, Hamlin Volunteer Fire Department, and the State Police were searching for me.  There were probably over 20 men, maybe more from the fire departments.  And I believe there were eight state policemen looking for me.  Maybe nine.

“When I was found, I was found by one man from the Mount Jewett Fire Department, and with him was a State Policeman.  I don’t remember the name of the man from the Fire Department.  I think maybe the name of the officer was Schreckengaust.  They brought me out of the woods at 7:20 PM that night.

“My wife didn’t know that I was confused about my whereabouts.  She thought I was still out there scouting.

“I wanted to show my appreciation to those who came to find me.  I tried to donate to the State Police Department and they said that they could not accept donations.  I asked to donate to their Christmas party but they said that they couldn’t accept.  I did donate to the three fire departments.  I just wanted them to know that I appreciate them.

“I was not prepared to spend the night in the woods that night.  I had no matches or anything to start a fire.  As I said, it was supposed to be a quick scouting trip.  It wasn’t a pleasant experience.  I don’t know what happened.  I must have gotten turned around and didn’t realize it at the moment.  I hunted that area so many times.  I still continue to hunt that area.

“Thank you to the Mount Jewett VFD, Lafayette VFD, Hamlin VFD, and the state police for helping to find me and getting me out of there.  I thank you all equally.  Spending the night in the woods would not have been healthy.  Due to my lungs, it would have been difficult.”

The Kane Republican asked for a little information about his background.  Parker responded, “I was in the military, two branches.  I was in the Navy after high school and the Army after college.  I retired as Chief Warrant Officer-4.  There were four grades at the time and was the highest that you can get.  I was a State Parole Agent.  I retired from the Parole Board at 61 and I retired from the reserves at 60.”

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