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Eagle-eyed train passenger noticed an injured hiker in the woods. It saved her life.

She saw something. She said something.

colorado hiker, colorado rescue, durango and silverton

A rescue helicopter flying high above the wilderness.

A woman was riding Colorado’s Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Train on Monday, October 10, when she noticed a distressed person near a riverbed waving frantically to the train.

The Durango Herald noted that it was incredible the woman was spotted because she “could only be seen from a very limited and particular angle.”

The Office of Emergency Management, San Juan County Colorado said in a Facebook post that after the passenger noticed the woman she notified train staff who initiated an emergency response. The staff notified Delton Henry who was following behind the train in the inspection motor car.

Henry pulled up to where the woman was last seen, called to her across the riverbed and learned she had a broken leg and couldn’t move. A superintendent for the train called 911 to get help from the San Juan County Search and Rescue.


“The 911 operator very quickly asked me if we had the name of the individual,” D&SNG Superintendent Darren Whitten told The Durango Herald. “She explained to me that there had been a hiker that was overdue and had been missing since Saturday, and that her parents had been frantically looking for her.”

The twenty-something woman was from Aztec, New Mexico, and had been missing for two days. She fell off a 90-foot cliff while taking pictures, broke her leg and got a concussion. She had no idea how long she was unconscious after hitting her head. To stay warm at night she tucked herself into a cliff face.

The fact that she survived the ordeal is nothing short of a miracle. Temperatures in the area can get down to 20 degrees and she was wearing only a tank top. Further, the area is known for having wolves and mountain lions.

“It’s an amazing feat that she survived two nights in the cold snap we are having,” said emergency management spokeswoman DeAnne Gallegos. “Our team thought that was pretty miraculous. And that she was aware the train was still running, and managed with a broken leg to crawl to the bank of the river to try and signal them.”

According to NPR, Nick and Kylah Breedon, a married couple, were on the next D&SNG train coming through the area and it stopped where the injured woman was located and they hopped off with emergency supplies. A CareFlight helicopter was called to the scene to airlift the injured woman but it couldn’t reach the area. So rescuers created a rope system to carry her across the river on a backboard. They were then able to get her to the helicopter that transported her to Montrose Hospital. Her condition has not been made public.

The Office of Emergency Management thanked the railroad staff for its help on Facebook.

“Silverton and San Juan County would like to thank the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad for their support and partnership in this successful search and rescue mission. Another person in a moment of need was successfully brought home due to teamwork and collaboration.”

It also thanked the Breedons for their heroism.

“We would like to thank Kylah with the @dsngrr for her bravery on our Monday Search & Rescue call. Her husband Nick was also there and supporting the injured missing hiker as well. Not all hero’s wear capes but these two are now honorary @silverton_medical_rescue team members.”

The rescue is a wonderful effort that involved a lot of people coming together to help one injured hiker. But it all started with one person who was paying attention, saw something and said something.

All images provided by Prudential Emerging Visionaries

Collins after being selected by Prudential Emerging Visionaries

True

A changemaker is anyone who takes creative action to solve an ongoing problem—be it in one’s own community or throughout the world.

And when it comes to creating positive change, enthusiasm and a fresh perspective can hold just as much power as years of experience. That’s why, every year, Prudential Emerging Visionaries celebrates young people for their innovative solutions to financial and societal challenges in their communities.

This national program awards 25 young leaders (ages 14-18) up to $15,000 to devote to their passion projects. Additionally, winners receive a trip to Prudential’s headquarters in Newark, New Jersey, where they receive coaching, skills development, and networking opportunities with mentors to help take their innovative solutions to the next level.

For 18-year-old Sydnie Collins, one of the 2023 winners, this meant being able to take her podcast, “Perfect Timing,” to the next level.

Since 2020, the Maryland-based teen has provided a safe platform that promotes youth positivity by giving young people the space to celebrate their achievements and combat mental health stigmas. The idea came during the height of Covid-19, when Collins recalled social media “becoming a dark space flooded with news,” which greatly affected her own anxiety and depression.

Knowing that she couldn’t be the only one feeling this way, “Perfect Timing” seemed like a valuable way to give back to her community. Over the course of 109 episodes, Collins has interviewed a wide range of guests—from other young influencers to celebrities, from innovators to nonprofit leaders—all to remind Gen Z that “their dreams are tangible.”

That mission statement has since evolved beyond creating inspiring content and has expanded to hosting events and speaking publicly at summits and workshops. One of Collins’ favorite moments so far has been raising $7,000 to take 200 underserved girls to see “The Little Mermaid” on its opening weekend, to “let them know they are enough” and that there’s an “older sister” in their corner.

Of course, as with most new projects, funding for “Perfect Timing” has come entirely out of Collins’ pocket. Thankfully, the funding she earned from being selected as a Prudential Emerging Visionary is going toward upgraded recording equipment, the support of expert producers, and skill-building classes to help her become a better host and public speaker. She’ll even be able to lease an office space that allows for a live audience.

Plus, after meeting with the 24 other Prudential Emerging Visionaries and her Prudential employee coach, who is helping her develop specific action steps to connect with her target audience, Collins has more confidence in a “grander path” for her work.

“I learned that my network could extend to multiple spaces beyond my realm of podcasting and journalism when industry leaders are willing to share their expertise, time, and financial support,” she told Upworthy. “It only takes one person to change, and two people to expand that change.”

Prudential Emerging Visionaries is currently seeking applicants for 2024. Winners may receive up to $15,000 in awards and an all-expenses-paid trip to Prudential’s headquarters with a parent or guardian, as well as ongoing coaching and skills development to grow their projects.

If you or someone you know between the ages of 14 -18 not only displays a bold vision for the future but is taking action to bring that vision to life, click here to learn more. Applications are due by Nov. 2, 2023.
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