WINSTON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Reverend Joe Genau, senior pastor of Edgewood Presbyterian Church, was back from a trailhead in Winston County Tuesday night just hours after an emotional rescue of the former pastor of the church, Sidney Burgess.
Sydney Burgess was reported missing on Sunday after he went hiking and hadn’t returned. Genau shared with parishioners the moment rescuers said they found their beloved Burgess.
“The sheriff deputy that was kind of running the show said we think we got him and everyone stood up instantly. He checked to make sure everything was okay and he said, yes we have him. He’s awake . He’s breathing and it exploded,” described Genau.
He said Burgess was in good spirits and it was a miracle on how good of shape he was in when he was found.
“We had so many question about how we were going to find Sid and what condition he was going to be in and the man walks up and he sees a hiker standing by a tree,” said Rev. Genaue.
Genau said the man then tried to get the attention of the hiker. The hiker was Burgess.
“He finally got in Sid’s vision and Sid said, ‘You found me’,” continued Genau.
He said he never felt jubilation like he did on Tuesday when Burgess was found.
“It was just an explosion of Joy up there on the Trailhead,” said Genau.
And that happiness and relief spilled over in Homewood at the Church 70-year-old Sidney Burgess was the pastor of for 23 years.
Tuesday they celebrated his safe recovery.
“Yesterday we were very worried,” said Emma Richardson, who is a member of Edgewood Presbyterian Church.
“We were hoping for the best, but preparing our self that he could be quite badly hurt,but today there was a peace. Today is going to be the day they find him and he will be okay,” she said.
Richardson and another church member were on their way to Winston County to deliver tons of donated food to the rescuers working around the clock to find Burgess, but just as they were loading up, they received a call that Burgess was found.
“It was an incredible joy and relief when we got the call,” continued Richardson.
Rev. Genau said this moment was all about faith.
“We are people of hope and that’s our story. Even when we are scared and when things re looking bleak and unknown, we have to hold on to faith and that served this community and his family so well over these last few days,” said Rev. Genau.