Randy Fay will never forget seeing two women on a floating piece of a roof, where on Saturday he rescued Robin Youngblood and her friend, Jetty Dooper, from the Oso mudslide.
They were covered in mud and shivering. Fay, an EMT, fastened them into a basket to be lifted by helicopter, then went back for a painting of a Cherokee warrior.
“She asked if I could save that. We got them up and grabbed that picture and gave that to her. That’s all she had left,” Fay said.
He saved a 4-year-old boy who was sinking chest deep in the mud, as were two nearby men trying to reach the boy.
Just as Fay finished retelling the story to a group of reporters Wednesday, Youngblood, 63, arrived to thank him for saving her life. They hugged and their eyes teared a bit.
She recalled that when Fay was lowered to her by the helicopter, the rescuers did everything perfectly to save and calm her. “I was just saying ‘Thank you Creator,’ ” she said.
Youngblood later said her son-in-law, Kane Conner, was denied access to search the remains of the house on Steelhead Drive, to look for keepsakes from their Native American ancestry. She said her great grandmother, a Cherokee, was one of the first residents of the Oso area in the early 1900s.
“I had her sacred regalia, her pipes,” Youngblood said. “We weren’t able to go back in.”