“She’s a very tough person,” said Bill Pattison of his 80-year-old wife. Patricia Pattison of Hood River recently returned home relatively unharmed after spending the night out in the cold and rain on a hillside above the Hood River.
“She’s beaten two bouts of cancer. She has survived many adversities,” added Pattison.
According to Bill, while suffering from memory difficulties, Patricia had made a late-night attempt to return to her previous residence sometime after 10:30 p.m. June 12 and became mired in a deep patch of blackberry vines.
Bill notified police upon discovering her absence in the middle of the night, and the search started at 2:20 a.m. June 13, according to Hood River County Sheriff Matt English.
The overnight temperatures hovered in the high 40s and it was raining. Patricia was clothed only in a nightgown, underclothes and her husband’s oversized tennis shoes.
An extensive search for Pattison came to a successful end June 13 after a team of 30 search-and-rescue volunteers worked through the night to locate her.
With the aerial reconnaissance help of retired Sheriff Joe Wampler and his search plane assistant Grant Porter, Pattison was spotted from above and then located by ground crews close to 10:30 a.m. She was found in a brushy area on the eastern terminus of Montello Ave., above the Indian Creek Trail.
“She got caught in a blackberry patch,” said Bill. “She had stomped down a patch of them and was moving when Joe Wampler spotted her.”
According to Bill, Patricia is in good physical condition aside from extensive scratches on her hands, feet and legs. When found, she was suffering from slight hypothermia, registering a core body temperature of 94 degrees, but emergency crews quickly instituted warming procedures.
Patricia was returned home and her family continues their help in her recovery, according to English.
The Pattisons now live above the Indian Creek Golf Course on Avalon Drive, a significant distance from where Patricia was found.
“We think that she walked on the Indian Creek Trail,” said Bill. “She walks a lot and is in great physical condition.”
Hood River Fire and EMS, the Crag Rats and members of the Hood River Rotary assisted the sheriff’s department in the search-and-rescue mission. Bill Pattison is a 60-year veteran member of the Crag Rats.
“The volunteer help we have in Hood River County can’t be compared to anywhere. The talent that comes along with those volunteers is incredible,” said Bill. “It doesn’t seem to matter what is the need — finding someone, fundraising, building something — Hood River is incomparable. I’d put Hood River up against the world!
“We have very experienced law enforcement, fire, EMS, search and rescue and Crag Rat people. We are so blessed. It takes a village, you know, and we are so blessed to live in this village,” concluded Bill.