Saw a reference to Kate Braestrup's new book, Here if You Need Me, on Stephen Bodio's Querencia and decided to buy it. I was drawn to the book for a couple of reasons... while not a religious person (in an orthodoxical way), I am genuinely interested in why other people are drawn powerfully to a life of faith. For example, I enjoyed Kathleen Norris's Dakota a lot, too.
But what caught my attention here is that Braestrup serves as the chaplain to the Maine Game Warden Service, the law enforcement wing of the Department of Fish and Game. She is the person charged with ministering to both wardens and the families of those who are lost in the outdoors.
We moved from Maine a year ago, where I served as a search-and-rescue volunteer with the MDI SAR for four years. If there was an incident in Acadia National Park, we were called out by the Park; if it happened anywhere else in Maine, we were called out by the Warden Service. Sadly, I have taken part in several lost-person searches that became body-recovery exercises. And while the book is really about the Warden Service, and therefore only briefly mentions the National Guard helicopter pilots that would fly in all weathers to do evacuations, I would just like to say that I am equally grateful for their service and skill. Here's a picture from one of their missions in Baxter State Park.
The book is absolutely heart-breaking in places, funny in others, and above all a touching tribute to the too few Game Wardens that serve The Pine Tree state in every season and all kinds of conditions.