‘A pretty large effort’: How manpower led to the rescue of a missing Lauderdale County man

LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — At least a hundred people were a part of the effort to find 82-year-old Jimmy Reed Butler on Monday.

Butler was reported missing by his family on Sunday morning. He spent nearly 48 hours out in the elements before he was found.

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Local and state law enforcement used drones and an Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) helicopter to search the area where Butler’s phone last gave off a signal.

“We made the determination to call in more resources that following morning and really get a lot of people there and start coordinating a pretty big a pretty large effort,” Lauderdale County Sheriff Joe Hamilton said.

The search grew with law enforcement and volunteer search teams from across Alabama and Tennessee joining the effort. Lee Smith, a member of the Randall’s Adventures, Training, and Search and Rescue team, spent time gathering information and coming up with search locations on Monday.

“Most of the team members are multi-skilled so we can either operate in incident command or we can operate in the field,” Smith said.

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The number of people participating may have impacted the outcome of the search.

“We had enough manpower to perform a good, thorough search which resulted in finding our lost person,” Smith said.

Northwest Alabama K9 Search and Rescue had several dogs participating in the search.

“We go in there with an attitude that we’re going to get it done and we do,” said K-9 Search Handler Charles Speegle.

Searchers found Butler nearly 48 hours after he first went missing in a ravine in the Greenhill community. He was alert, and medical teams took him to Huntsville Hospital where he is still recovering.

The following agencies assisted in the search for Butler: Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office, Randall’s Adventures Training and Search and Rescue (RATSAR), Greenhill Volunteer Fire Department, Florence Police Department, Alabama Fusion Center, Alabama ALEA Aviation, US Marshals, Colbert County Sheriff’s Office, Northwest Alabama K-9 and Rescue, Lawrence County Tennessee Search and Rescue, Lauderdale County Detention Center, Lauderdale EMA, Central Volunteer Fire Department, SARTEC K-9 Search and Rescue, North Alabama Search Dog Association, Lifeguard ambulance, and Air E Vac.

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