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Jed Boal ReportingThe man who shouldered the greatest responsibility when Brennan disappeared says the search taught several valuable lessons.
When Brennan got home last night the adults who first started the search had plenty of questions. They may not get answers to all of them, but they have a clearer idea of why Brennan came home alive.
Martin and Michelle Christensen went to scout camp last week and brought Brennan Hawkins with their son Brian. Christensen was training scout volunteers when his son came back from the climbing wall without Brennan. A scout leader more than 25 years, Christensen started the search.
Martin Christensen, Brennan's Scout Leader: "I take very seriously the obligation to protect the health and well-being first of that young man."
Kevin Bardsley shared his expertise from the search for his son and prepared maps to help the Christensens coordinate volunteer searchers.
Martin Christensen: "They came and gave us an organization that brought Brennan home safe."
Brennan was supposed to go to the dining facility when he disappeared. Brian left the climbing wall ahead of Brennan.
Michelle Christensen, Brennan's Host Family: "Taking off their harnesses Brennan was getting his harness off. It happened in those 30 seconds."
Christensen says they peppered Brennan with questions last night.
Martin Christensen, Brennan's Scout Leader: "He couldn't give any kind of answer that makes sense because he's an 11-year-old boy."
So he makes an educated guess. Christensen thinks Brennan followed a dirt road through camp, crossed the river, and went up the Baker Lake trail where he was found yesterday. Brennan is a Tenderfoot scout and knows some basic survival skills. He'd camped many times and knew an important lesson from his father.
Michelle Christensen, Brennan's Host Family: "When the searchers found Brennan one of the things they told them was, 'My dad said stay on the trail."
The Christensens echo all of the thanks for the professional and volunteer searchers, and anticipate working with the Bardsleys in the future to help train searchers when they arte needed. He says there are lessons to be reinforced, but survival preparation is already in the Boy Scout Handbook.