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Stockton Pastor Lost In Wilderness Thankful for Rescuers, Well-Wishers

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STOCKTON (CBS13) — A prominent Stockton pastor is recovering from a broken leg after spending the night stranded near Pinecrest in Tuolumne County.

Injured and alone in the wilderness, Pastor Wayne Folmer says he turned to God when he needed him the most.

“It was such an alone feeling, knowing I couldn’t climb up and couldn’t climb down,” he said. “I said, ‘God, I know you said you would not leave or forsake me, but I’m feeling alone up here, it’s getting cold, and I don’t know if I can take this.’”

The 68-year-old was separated from his son while scouting the area on Monday. A fall broke the pastor’s leg, leaving him stranded in rugged terrain.

“I said, ‘God, in the Bible you sent your angels to people in need.’ I said, ‘I’m going to need a few.’  When I said I needed some angels I turned and saw that light up there, I was convinced God had not left me,” he said.

That light was from Tuolumne County Search and Rescue teams. The pastor fired his hunting rifle, then used a bullet casing to call for help.

“I picked it up, and I whistled the SOS, and they heard me,” he said.

At 2 a.m., rescuers found him more than a mile from camp. They stayed with him through the night until a California Highway Patrol helicopter took him to the hospital first thing in the morning.

The pastor and his son are grateful for the support from church members and rescuers who brought Folmer home to the church he’s led for almost four decades.

“I have this peace come over me, they had things under control. We were thankful for that,” said Wayne Folmer, Jr.

“Sheriff’s department, highway patrol all working together—they didn’t hesitate to do any of those things to rescue someone they didn’t even know,” the pastor said.

Pastor Folmer plans on sharing his story with churchgoers during this Sunday’s services, and hopes it will help others properly prepare for hunting trips.

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