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3:48 AM Sat, Sept. 22nd

Bluhm: Following the cave story and how it impacted us all

In this image made from video, released by the Thailand Government Spokesman Bureau, three of the 12 boys are seen recovering in their hospital beds after being rescued along with their coach from a flooded cave in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand. (Thailand Government Spokesman Bureau via AP)

In this image made from video, released by the Thailand Government Spokesman Bureau, three of the 12 boys are seen recovering in their hospital beds after being rescued along with their coach from a flooded cave in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand. (Thailand Government Spokesman Bureau via AP)

We were all in that Thai cave. Praying, hoping, waiting that a miracle would happen. Maybe the entire world was losing hope when 10 days went by and the Wild Boars soccer team were still missing. Teams of international rescue workers and elite Navy SEALs from numerous countries tried to locate the boys. It was a testimony of humanity, the power of prayer and the goodness of God’s grace that 12 teens and their coach were found stranded 2.5 miles inside a dark, flooded cave.

The sudden exuberance to find the group alive and well was met with tears of joy and prayers of thanks.

But the saga was far from over. How could they get out safely? Another six days would pass before the rescuers could concoct a viable plan. Doctors stayed with the weakened boys, feeding them and preparing them for a daring trek to freedom. With loss of muscle strength, the daunting task of a five to seven-hour dive and walk out seemed impossible. Millions around the globe prayed for a miracle.

Something so amazing still strikes me when they were first discovered. The joyful smiles and calls to the rescuers shouting, “We are OK. We are hungry.” It was poignant to see the jubilation in their young faces. That is what hope looks like. That is why the best of our humanity is evidenced in our finest moments of saving those who are lost, helpless, and running out of time.

Forget the United Nations (only kidding here) as a formal organization. It really exists in the unselfish and courageous acts of people from around the world, who rush in when help is needed. Most of us avoid running into burning buildings, or dark, flooded caves. But the heroic men and women who see danger, risk their lives, jump in and do everything in their power for the less fortunate is the true measure of triumph.

This rescue is the story of improvisation, meticulous planning, incredible skill, massive pumps and miles of guide rope. It was the courage of hundreds of workers that brought the boys home. One of the Navy SEAL divers died in the process. But this did not stop the mission. Each boy, with specially made full-face oxygen masks swam in black waters, through narrow passage ways between two divers. This was a harrowing ordeal. And in the end, after 18 days, an impossible mission was accomplished.

There has been plenty of big news during this past week. Yet, somewhere in a far away land, in the depths of despair, a light shone on huge hearts, big efforts and a miracle unfolded in front of us. In a world often divided, it is a thrill to see all of us praying and cheering for the same outcome.

One Thai Navy SEAL was quoted as saying, “Not sure if this rescue was a miracle or just good science.” Well, it seems like both. And in the words of Navy SEALs, “Hooyah, hooyah, hooyah.”

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at judy@judybluhm.com.