Good intentions turned into a great outcome when a volunteer firefighter joined the search for a missing 85-year-old man.
Charles Wilson went missing from a Montgomery county nursing home Wednesday night.
Thursday, police, family and friends were searching for Wilson in a creek between Carol and Moredon Road in Abington Township, according to a relative of the man who was also searching for Wilson, Phillip Carroll, Jr.
Carroll, Jr. had mentioned to his boss, Jon Gangwer, that Wilson was missing. Gangwer, who volunteers at his local fire department, suggested they leave work and join the search.
“I just said to Phil [Jr.], ‘that looks more important than what we’re doing here,’” Gangwer said.
Hours after Gangwer started searching the creek, he found Wilson lying down faceup in the water at about 4:30 p.m.
“I was caught off guard,” Gangwer said. “For hours, I’d been looking at nothing but trees and brown water. It was incredible to find him alive because there were so many people looking for him.”
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Searchers stayed with Wilson until an ambulance crew arrived to transport Wilson to the hospital.
According to Carroll, Sr. and Gangwer, Wilson was talking and in good spirits as an ambulance crew arrived to take him to the hospital.
Phillip Carroll, Sr. was also on the scene searching for Wilson. He was extremely grateful for Gangwer’s help in the search.
“The guy is a hero. End of story,” Carroll, Sr. said. “He came in with a game plan. He spent all of his time in the stream. He felt like that was the place to look and sure enough, that’s where he found him.”
Carroll, Sr. was elated to see Wilson alive and well. He said Wilson’s three daughters were very emotional while their father was missing, and at times, they feared the worst.
“If he was facedown, it would have been a whole different outcome,” Carroll, Sr. said.
According to the Abington Township Police Department, Charles Wilson walked away from the St. Joseph’s Manor nursing home on Huntingdon Pike about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and was missing overnight.
Investigators said Wilson suffers from dementia.
Police confirmed Thursday afternoon that Wilson had been found safe.