The search and rescue group Wings of Mercy, along with family and friends of Tommy Harrington, will be conducting another search for the missing Peace River teen this Saturday.
And they are hoping others from the area will join them in the search or lend a helping hand where they can.
The organization is a volunteer-based search and rescue operation that employs the use of drone technology, aerial imaging, ATV’s and cadaver dogs among many other resources to help locate missing people in rural, remote communities across North America.
Founder of Wings of Mercy Shane Michaels says the organization got its start last year after he developed software that could be used to analyze drone images to help locate missing people.
Since Harrington’s family had drone images from previous searches, they decided to reach out to see if Michaels’ software could help them find Tommy.
Michaels thought that his organization could do more than that.
“It’s an isolated location, and we thought maybe Wings of Mercy could lend a hand and get some people out there.”
Harrington has been missing since January 5, when his truck hit the ditch along Cinch Road (about 70 km north of Grande Cache) in the midst of a snowstorm. The then 18-year-old was working in that area and was on his way to camp around 9 p.m. that evening.
“It was snowing really bad that night and we think that he missed the turn for the camp. He told his dad that he was headed back to camp and that’s what he also told his mother,” explained Geraldine Redhead, Tommy’s grandmother back in January.
Tommy called family members for help shortly after. His family drove out to the location, but they discovered upon arrival that his truck was there, out of gas, but Tommy was nowhere to be found.
Redhead says they tracked him to Highway 40, but haven’t been able to track him anywhere past that point.
Now nearly nine months later, Wings of Mercy wants to help the family find closure to what has been a tough year.
They are hoping to do so before the weather becomes unfavourable to do so.
“Now it’s fall and the leaves are starting to come off of the trees, and before the snow comes, just because it is such an isolated place,” said Michaels. “They need a little help.”
Saturday’s search for Harrington will begin where the search first started, on Cinch Road at 9 a.m. Michaels asks for volunteers to bring good hiking boots or walking shoes, rain gear, bug and bear spray.
Food and snacks will be provided to those that volunteer their time. Michaels says though that they are hoping the community can step up and help donate some of those items for the volunteers
“We’re looking for donations of simple things like water, granola bars,” said Michaels. “Just stuff for the people out there searching. Drinks and snacks and bug spray, just to get through the day.”
Those that have items they wish to donate or would like to take part in the search can contact Wings of Mercy on Facebook.