(KARE) Dave Quiser has lived his life with a “never quit” attitude. This week, that stubborn side may have saved his life.
“I got myself into a doggone predicament,” Quiser said from the burn unit at Regions Hospital, where he's recovering from severe frostbite.
While bird hunting on Christmas Day, the retired St. Louis County sheriff's deputy got stuck on a logging trail near Gheen.
He spent the night in his pick-up, engine running, as temperatures dropped to near 30 below.
Fearing he'd run out of gas before a second nightfall, Quiser set out of foot in what he described as “bitter, burning, cold.”
Quiser's three-hour trek took him more than two miles, first on foot and then on his hands and knees after he collapsed from exhaustion and the cold.
“My pants, I wore the knees, and I was on bare knees and ten below,” Quiser said. “I couldn't get up, but I wasn't going to quit.”
Meantime, hundreds of people were searching for Quiser, including law enforcement officers, family and friends.
“It's like trying to find a needle in a haystack with all those back roads that he's traveled for so many years,” said Dana Sanders, Quiser's daughter.
Quiser says he thought about his family, including six grandchildren and three great grandchildren, as he pushed himself forward.
He prayed to his late father and brother, asking for strength.
Yet it wasn't the searchers who discovered Quiser. A father and son driving down the forest road to check on some equipment spotted Quiser and pulled up alongside him.
“Guy asked me, am I alright? I said 'Hell no, I'm not alright. I need a ride to the Cook ER,'” Quiser said with a laugh.
Regions Hospital Dr. William Mohr said Quiser is fortunate to have survived.
Mohr credits Quiser's determination.
“Many people have just laid down in the snow and by the time they're found things are too late,” Mohr said.
If all continues to go well, Mohr believes Quiser will not lose his blistered fingers - a relief to Quiser, who expressed particular concern about his trigger finger.
Sanders called her father's rescue “a miracle,” though Quiser says he's now grounded from similar expeditions.
He also has plans to get a new phone. His old one wasn't working.
Quiser's granddaughter informed him, iPhones now come with a feature called “find my phone.”
Quiser quickly responded, “well, in that case, that's what I'll get.”