President of the Utah Senate
The Fourth of July season represents a week of BBQs, parades and fireworks, and for my wife and I -- in our other public service role -- call outs for search and rescue.
As of this writing, our search and rescue unit has responded to 18 calls in the last 16 days:
- An airplane crash in Utah Lake (took five days to recover the pilot and two passengers);
- A hiker with a broken leg in a waterfall high on the backside of Timp (took all night to get him back to a landing zone for a Life Flight pickup);
- Three lost Finnish students in the Aspen Grove area (actually found them on the next mountain over);
- A young lady with a broken leg at Stewart Falls;
- Two people on a wave runner on Utah Lake at night (wave runner quit running and sank . . . thank goodness for life vests);
- A lost scout leader above camp Maple Dell in Payson Canyon (spent the night climbing over logs from a major forest fire);
- Several stranded hikers on various cliffs;
- A flash flood in Diamond Fork Canyon;
- The recovery of the body of a snowshoer caught in an avalanche last winter high up on Timp;
- . . . and the list goes on.
These calls were all within a two and a half week period and represent the work of only one unit: The Utah County Sheriff Search and Rescue Team. Other volunteer units are also stretched pretty thin.
I love the spirit of willing, enthusiastic volunteers in our state.
I read this past week about the Peoples Republic of China closing off access to the internet to its citizens and censoring blogging. I hear about continual civilian bombing in Iraq. I watch the elections in Mexico where the candidates offer a clear ideological choice but the results are too close to call at this time.
These things really help you realize the power
of democracy and the value of the principles we are celebrating tomorrow - even simple things like the freedom to volunteer for public service and to post this blog.
It is true that freedom is earned, not free
I hope we continue to earn it.
Have a great Fourth of July, and please be careful out there.