Letter to the editor: Local police, firefighters, forest service thanked for rescuing people from the woods

We want to thank the Vermont State Police, the National Forest Service, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, the Ripton Fire Department, and 911 for helping us get safely out of the woods when we were lost near Dragon Brook Road in Middlebury near Ripton on June 12. Now seniors, we grew up in East Middlebury and were hiking in a place familiar to us as children. Louise had hiked the route five years ago, but the trail is now overgrown in parts.
Ten State Police officers, including a canine unit, were involved in our rescue. We particularly thank Lieutenant Matt Nally, Search and Rescue Team Commander; Officer Szarejko, who assisted Lieutenant Nally in guiding us by phone through the woods toward the police sirens; Officer Adrienne Pickin, who assured our relatives they had heard from us and we were okay; and officer Phelps, who gave us a ride after we walked out of the woods just before dark, only three hours after our 911 call. 
We thank the other officers who were involved in telephone planning or searching for us; Officers Busby, Favreau, Gydus, Helm, LeBlanc, and Sheridan. Troopers were from the Middlesex, Westminster, and New Haven Divisions.
We thank the members of the National Forest Service who helped; Officer Rob Gydus, who searched for us, and Captain Mike Klingensmith, who did telephone planning. We thank Warden Wes Butler of the Fish and Wildlife Department. We thank the staff members of 911. We thank the two members of the Ripton Fire Department who greeted us when we came out of the woods and checked our health. Ripton Fire Department firefighters who helped were Ted Dunakin, Erica Godin, Jay Harrington, Mark Nelson, and Justin Sequin.
We apologize for getting into a situation where such help was needed. We encourage hikers to visit “hikeSafe” online, as suggested online by the Vermont State Police. We wish we had followed all these rules.
We can’t say enough to thank the many very competent persons who were there to help. Vermont hikers are fortunate to have such an outstanding system, under the direction of the Vermont State Police, for search and rescue of persons lost in the woods. We wish the personnel from all these agencies the very best always.
Louise Tilford Cunha
 Stuart, FL
Charles Tilford
Castro Valley, CA
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