June 30 ended the largest local search for a drowning victim I can remember.
Finley teenager Timmy Bowden disappeared one week earlier after a boating accident at Hood Park on the Snake River in Burbank. The swift and murky water conditions of the Snake River and the Columbia River into which it empties made the search even more difficult.
It was only through the professionalism, dedication and tenacity of many search and rescue groups that the recovery was possible, bringing closure to Timmy's family.
Led by Walla Walla Sheriff John Turner and his team, many other agencies and volunteer groups quickly joined together as a coordinated unit to find Timmy. The volunteer groups included Columbia Basin Dive Rescue, Walla Walla Search and Rescue, Gene and Sandy Ralston (bringing their unique side-scan sonar system from Idaho), Timmy's family, friends and other volunteer boaters and divers.
Contributing agencies included the U.S. Coast Guard, Franklin County Sheriff's Office, Benton County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. We can all be very proud of these men and women, and their families, who made finding Timmy their number one priority as they serve and protect us all.
When you see one of them next time you are out on the river, please remember to express your appreciation. And, when you are on the water, please remember to always wear your life jacket.