Crash victim Sgt. Brian Abrams remembered by New Hampshire Fish & Game collegues
But Clark recalled something else from that search, something positive amid the exhaustion and horror. It was what he had come over the years to expect: the steady hand, calm manner and friendly professionalism of New Hampshire Fish and Game conservation Sgt. Brian Abrams of Center Conway.
Abrams crashed his new Harley-Davidson motorcycle Sunday afternoon in a single-vehicle accident on a steep hill in Wolfeboro. He sustained a head injury, and died about 48 hours later at Maine Medical Center in Portland, surrounded by his family. He leaves his wife, Mary Ann, and the couple's two daughters, Sierra 11, and Shannon, 8.
Clark, president of Pemigewasset Valley Search & Rescue in Franconia was correct, sadly in 2011. The mission to find 11-year-old Celina Cass of West Stewartstown did indeed become a recovery, rather than a rescue. It ended when her body was found in the Connecticut River not far from her home. The murder remains unsolved.
"It was extremely difficult terrain, thick growth and a 12-hour day. We were cut up and beat up, and we knew we weren't going to find her alive. But Brian was the same as always. He was upbeat and positive. He set up a 'headquarters' on the back of a pickup truck, and thanked each one of us for our help. He was always very appreciative. He was a big promoter of using the volunteer searchers," Clark said.
Clark, who's also Sugar Hill's fire chief, said most search and rescue efforts are not as grim as the effort to find Celina, and there's usually an easy camaraderie, even fun, among team members, many of whom have known one another for decades.
In 2003, Abrams was honored with Fish and Game's Life Saving Award and the New Hampshire Congressional Law Enforcement Above and Beyond the Call of Duty award for saving the life of a cross-country skier in hazardous weather conditions.
Memorial donations may go directly to any TD Bank branch for the Sergeant Brian Abrams Memorial Fund, according to Fish and Game administrators.
The cause of Sunday's accident remains under investigation. Plans for services on Saturday had not been completed Wednesday.
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