The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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November 6, 2012

Happy ending for stranded deer

JOHNSTOWN — The tale of the deer stranded in the Conemaugh River’s concrete channel appears to have come to a happy conclusion, Mark Hawk, a security guard at JWF Industries said this morning.

“It’s a great ending,” he said. “The Game Commission came down and were able to push the deer up the wall. She’s moved on to better quarters off campus.”

The animal, believed to be a young female whitetail, had been at the river wall near JWF Industries on Iron Street. It was first noticed by employees on Nov. 1 after it apparently was washed downstream by high water from Hurricane Sandy.

Hawk said he had been told by people who were watching the rescue that the officers tied off to each other and walked the river wall moving the animal until she “hit dirt.”

The security guard had made it his personal mission to advocate for the deer and had called everyone he could think of who might be able to save the animal - even a Cambria County judge.

But authorities told him they would not be able to assist the animal until water in the river had fallen to safer levels. Trying to retrieve the animal would not only put rescuers in peril, but would likely spook the deer into the water, perhaps sealing her fate.

Hawk said he was impressed by the interest shown by the authorities - including Johnstown police officers and firefighters.

“They really were concerned,” he said.

He also was in awe at the number of residents who cared about the stranded animal. Hawk said he received nearly two dozen phone calls to his home from people he did not know but who called to thank him for his interest in the little doe.

Many tried to assist the deer. “They were dropping hay and food down to her,” he said

Knowing that the little deer made it to safety was worth all his efforts, Hawk said.

“It made me feel like a million bucks.”

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