Miller County, AR-On June 15, 2017, the four states region received news from the Miller County Sheriff’s office that the body of Ryan Shane Johnson of Fouke, Arkansas had been recovered from the Sulfur River at the Smith Park Landing. While the news was devastating to family, friends, and the community, there was a positive side regarding the efforts that were made to find Mr. Johnson. The search for Mr. Johnson was not an exclusive Miller County Sheriff’s Office operation. The fact is, much like any disaster or search to take place in the area, the entire region came together.
For the search for Mr. Johnson, there was no concerns about state boundaries, districts, county lines, city or county officials. There was only a concern to search and find Mr. Johnson. That concern transcended boundaries not because of pay, or legal standings, but because Mr. Johnson needed people to care and search for him, and they did just that. People came from the city, from Texas, from other areas of Arkansas and all around to help. In the words of the Press Release from the Miller County Sheriff’s Office “Each of these entities devoted many hours assisting in the recovery.”
Too often we limit ourselves to our own cities, towns, states, or counties. People sometimes think in terms of “Well that’s a county problem” or “That’s a Texas side problem” or “That’s an Arkansas side problem,” but we forget that the people acting as responders do not think that way. Their thought patterns are different and instead they think, “Someone needs help.” These people, regardless of boundaries or their assigned areas, are the ones you see running toward a disaster, or a need when others are running away. When the call goes out for help, they are the ones who come.
When the call went out for help to find Mr. Johnson, true to their oaths, their dedication, and their training, they came. Below is a list of those who crossed the lines and boundaries because someone needed them. They are owed a huge amount of gratitude from everyone in the area and especially from Miller County, Arkansas:
Corp of Engineers
Texas Parks and Wildlife
The Salvation Army
Bowie County Sheriff’s Office
Genoa Volunteer Fire Department
Boggy Creek Volunteer Fire Department
Mandeville Volunteer Fire Department
Doddridge Volunteer Fire Department
Bowie County Dive Team
Miller County Office of Emergency Management
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Pleasant Valley Volunteer Fire Department
Bright Star Volunteer Fire Department
Many volunteers from several communities
We should all be thankful to know that living in this region affords us access to some of the finest emergency response people in all the country. The groups above dedicated many hours and for that the entire community should show gratitude and thanks.