BASS LAKE – As day seven drew to a close in the search for missing firefighter Token Adams, friends and family gathered on the shore of Bass Lake last night to share stories and send up prayers for his safe return.
Over 20 people responded to Facebook invitations and fliers created by childhood friends Brenda Standley and Stacie Grogan.
“I saw it on the news and knew we had to do something,” said Standley, who has known Token all her life, and cites his strength as the reason she knows he’s okay.
“One thing I know about Token is he’s very strong. He grew up in the mountains and knows how to survive.”
Standley said she and friend Stacie wanted to bring everyone together to show their support and sense of caring for the family and let them know their prayers are with them.
“He’s the first thing I think about every morning when I wake up,” said Standley. “I know the searchers are doing everything they can, and that makes me feel better,”
As darkness settled over the lake, friends gathered in a circle to share their stories of Token.
“Whenever I think of him, I remember a smile and a joke,” said Shannon Bratton who graduated Yosemite High School with Token. “He was always so friendly. And he’s smart enough to know how to survive. We just have fingers crossed.”
Others spoke of his invincibility. “Nothing could happen to Token. He once got run over by a cement truck and survived that!”
“It’s amazing how many people’s lives he’s touched,” said Token’s aunt Hanneke, as she talked about growing up at Bass Lake and about Token’s childhood. “He always had a lot of fun.”
As everyone holds their collective breath here in the mountains, the search moves into its eighth day in the rugged country of the Jemez mountains of New Mexico, where Adams vanished on Friday, Aug. 30, after failing to meet up with fellow firefighters at a designated point.
Though searchers have kept up their efforts day and night, through rain and hail and thunderstorms, there has still been no sign of Token Adams.
Several hundred people from various agencies are using multiple methods including ATV, UTV, search dogs, horseback, foot travel, fixed wing aircraft and Blackhawk helicopters.
A Fire Watch Airplane that has infrared capability to detect heat sources is working the area, and a Firewatch “Cobra” helicopter arrived yesterday to provide additional support for the search team. This specialized helicopter has cameras as well as infrared and low-light sensors. Its low-light sensors and transmission equipment can transmit images to search crews up to 30 miles away.
Teams are using a gridding technique to ensure that all areas are covered thoroughly before eliminating and moving to a different area.
Adams’s mother and several other family members have traveled to New Mexico to be part of the search efforts. Token’s wife Heidi is due to give birth to their second child in about a week.
The Santa Fe National Forest has put out a missing persons alert, asking the public for their help in locating Adams.
Height: 5’ 11″
Eyes: Wearing black sunglasses
Last seen wearing long sleeve yellow nomex shirt, green nomex pants, and lace up brown leather wildland fire boots. Last seen in the area of Holiday Mesa off Forest Service road 608 on Friday, 8/30/13. Mr. Adams was seen riding a red Polaris 400 ATV while investigating a possible fire start when he disappeared.
If you were in the area of Holiday Mesa and Stable Mesa on or after August 30th and may have seen this individual, please contact the Forest Service at 505-438-5600.