As Sunday evening came to a close this week, most of us at 6S Marketing were getting prepared for the work week. Lunches packed, alarm clocks set, we were ready to face the usual challenges of working in a progressive digital marketing agency.
6S Marketing co-founder, John Blown, had more pressing issues on his mind. He was monitoring the status of a lost hiker on the local mountains of Vancouver. John is an avid member of a volunteer mountain rescue team, North Shore Rescue, and was monitoring the story of an abandoned car found in a parking lot of a local mountain. With no word from the lost hiker’s family, John knew that at any given moment he might get the call to search for the missing hiker.
As the sun rose Monday morning, John got an alert that he was needed to look for the missing “trail runner,” who had spent the night shivering in sub-zero temperatures.
While the rest of us at 6S were preparing for our Monday morning meeting, John was focused on the missing hiker. The search crew knew the hiker likely spent the night very cold, very wet, and very alone—they were hoping he survived, but were prepared for the worst. Luckily, the worst didn’t happen. As the temperature dipped below zero overnight, the hiker covered himself in moss and bark, and hunkered down in a rotting stump. He spent more than 20 hours in the wilderness, wearing only shorts and a hoodie sweatshirt, praying for his life.
Fast forward to mid-day on Monday. John rolled into the office un-announced and began his day job. Most of us in the office are used to John’s infrequent calls to rescue, and asked, “How did it go?” John replied, “We found him,” with a smile. Then, he returned to his day-to-day work.
A little later in the day, John posted a link on Facebook to a Vancouver Sun article, showing a lost hiker being helped out of a helicopter. John is pictured in a puffy red rescue jacket, holding the man’s arm and helping him to the awaiting ambulance nearby. A CTV news story (see video) talked about the fact that the “trail runner” is “lucky to be alive” and that rescue crews thought that they were “looking for a body.”
This is not an unfamiliar story, as John has been volunteer with North Shore rescue the past 12+ years, and John saving people’s lives is a frequent occurrence. Sometimes he can’t make a meeting because he has spent the night providing body warmth to a subject who has fallen off a cliff. Or saving some lost kids that have gone out of bounds on a local ski hill and had the $#%!^ scared out of them.
Today, it’s business as usual: John helped the search team, got the hiker to safety, and then came into the office to start managing a digital marketing agency.
Last year, John received a Unit Commendation for Bravery from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and is a long-line expert with North Shore Rescue. As a long line expert, he frequently plucks people in need of rescue, suspended hundred of feet below a helicopter, and helps whisk them to the hospital, or waiting rescue teams secured safely below.
He is also a frequent blog contributor to the volunteer-run North Shore Rescue Team, and is a modest unsung hero.
What did you do on Monday morning? Me, not much, had a shower, got ready for work. However, John, was out saving lives before breakfast.