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Marine saves 77-year-old with Parkinson’s disease while hiking in North Cascades

NORMAN, Okla. – A Marine saved a senior citizen with Parkinson’s disease while hiking in the North Cascades National Park earlier this month.

Captain Nick Anthony of Oklahoma said he never expected an early September morning mountain climb to turn into a rescue mission, KFOR reported.

“We were going to climb in the Northern Cascades,” Anthony said. “We started at about 4:30 in the morning. We took the trail up, found ourselves in a white out once we got up on the glacier and decided to descend the mountain.”

During the almost 12-hour hike down, Anthony said he and his team came across Norman Petty and his wife, Barbara, who looked like they were having some serious issues.

“Turns out, the individual had Parkinson’s disease. He was 77 years old, hadn’t been taking his meds that day. So, we helped him down a little ways, and it turns out he was unable to keep going,” Anthony said. Anthony and the rest of his team had to get creative.

“We looked at what we had in our packs. I think, we had a few trekking poles, we had some gloves and some other padding like jackets and that sort of thing that we wrapped the poles with to give him some padding,” Anthony said.

Thanks to their military training, Anthony said they knew exactly what to do.

“Another teammate and I, Colin Ayres, developed a makeshift system to carry the gentlemen down the rest of the way. I think, total, we went down about 31 switchbacks, descending about 2,000 feet,” Anthony said.

Hours later, the rescue proved successful.

The group got Petty down safely, making sure he received the medical attention he needed.

“I spoke to him earlier this week, and he seems to be in really good spirits. He had a pretty difficult recollection of what happened but, yeah, he seems great,” Anthony told NewsChannel 4 on Friday evening.

Petty told the Seattle Marine Corps Recruiting Station this was a life-changing event and they were fortunate to encounter Anthony and his team who, without any hesitation, jumped in to help.