Reunited: Blair found

Published 9:15 am Monday, September 19, 2011

“I’m just so glad to be here,”
Those were the words of Rufus David Blair Friday morning as he recovered at D.W. McMillan Hospital after being rescued by search team members Thursday morning near Castleberry. Blair seemed in good spirits following his ordeal.
Blair was reported missing by family members Tuesday morning, which prompted a statewide missing person alert. The discovery of his car Wednesday evening gave authorities a point of reference to begin an in-depth search for Blair.
“If the car hadn’t been found I don’t know when we would have found Mr. Blair,” Escambia County Sheriff Grover Smith said. “The search was a community effort of volunteers, law enforcement, fire department and rescue squad members as well as some fine people who wanted to help. Our prayers were answered when he was found.”
Chief Deputy Mike Lambert was one of those in a group who found Blair Thursday morning.
“He was thirsty and happy to see someone,” Lambert said. “Finding him was a miracle we are glad to see.”
Family members were with Blair at the hospital as he was being treated for dehydration, minor scratches and bruises he received while spending nearly two days lost in the woods of Conecuh County.
After two days of searching by as many as 100 volunteers and first responders, Blair was found shoeless — but safe — just after 10 a.m. Thursday in a wooded area off East Railroad Street in the Castleberry community.
Blair’s wife, Erma, said the family was reunited with their husband and father as an ambulance prepared to take him to D.W. McMillan Hospital for evaluation and treatment of the injuries he sustained during the ordeal.
“The doctor is going to keep a good watch over him,” Erma said Friday morning. “We’re not sure how long he’ll be here.”
Erma said the time Blair was missing was tough for family and friends, but, she said she knew that God had a purpose for everything.
“I kept praying that God would send somebody to help Rufus,” Erma said. “God has a reason and purpose for everything. It’s hard to know what that purpose may be sometimes, but I know something good has and will come out of this.”