Past New York Fire Chief Found After Going Missing

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By John Spaulding

In a small rural town outside of Rochester, New York, Don Farrell, 70, a past fire chief, went for his usual walk a week ago Sunday. Keys, wallet, phone all left on the table at home. Twenty-four hours later, the search began. A multipronged, full-on search. Every local and government agency was called in. From divers (the Genesee River) to air support, canines, and citizens along with myriad of other resources. Sunday was to be the last day of coordinated search efforts. The man, who is 70, had no known medical conditions, but, as you know, the body can only survive for three days without water.  

Steve Linder, a cousin of Farrell’s who own a 5k-acre farm near where the former chief lives, was sitting at the kitchen table Sunday morning. He thought to himself, out of nowhere, of a place he hadn’t looked.  

He immediately went outside, got in his John Deere Gator, and drove almost to the exact spot. He heard a voice and turned off the machine. He yelled, “Who there?”

A reply came back, “Don Farrell.”

“We’ve been looking for you for a week!”

“I’ve only been gone a day,” came the reply.

Steve, the cousin, went down the bank as far as he could and could see he couldn’t remove the victim from his secluded place. He told the victim not to move and said he was going for help. He used his cell phone to call the fire department and EMS. They also used his other Gator to ferry manpower and equipment to rescue the victim.  

The victim had helped countless members of his community as a firefighter and chief. Facebook posts, Twitter, every local news outlet, and flyers went up in windows and poles for a week. The entire town knew he was missing. 

When speaking with Steve’s daughter, there is no explanation for Don to still be alive, nor the instinct that took Steve to the exact place Don was found, and had already been searched. Now I am a God fearing man, and this is the work of divine intervention if you ask me.

Don Farrell is currently listed in guarded condition at Strong Memorial hospital with a variety of ailments. The area he was found in has tall grass, and there is the possibility of being bitten by ticks. Don also told family that his grandmother was sitting with him during his time–perhaps another sign of assistance from things that we do not understand. It is a medical miracle he was found, even more that he was alive, and still mostly cognitive. Thousands of man-hours were poured into this search and rescue. Very rarely do we see this kind of time lapse without it becoming a recovery instead of a rescue


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