A Rusagonis mother will soon have a chance to say thanks in person to the hundreds of volunteers who stepped forward to help her find her missing children Friday night.
Jayden, 9, Aurora, 8, and Skylar, 4, got lost in the woods for seven hours Friday night.
Their mother Jennifer Turnbull said the waiting was agony, but she did take comfort in the overwhelming show of community support.
Around 5 p.m. Friday evening, three of Turnbull's seven children strayed into the forest behind her house and didn't respond when she yelled out their names.
The thick and tangled wood is home to bears, coyotes and unmapped waterways.
"You can't put it into words. You always think it's somebody else's. It felt like a bad dream. It didn't feel real," said Turnbull.
While family called the police and police called search and rescue, word got out that the children were missing. The message travelled like wildfire, by text, Twitter and Facebook.
"That's basically the way it went on Facebook. My sister manned her phone. It was ringing for hours. She said she got hundreds of calls, about 100 texts," said Turnbull.
"I handled quite a few calls coming through my cell phone. And here alone, one person estimated 700 people," said Turnbull.
The children were found near midnight, huddled together in a fort they had built for themselves out of branches and ferns.
"We found a fallen down tree, we used some bark and some ferns and we hanged it on branches," said Jayden.
They had listened for hours to the searchers calling their names, but they couldn't make themselves heard in return.
MLA Jack Carr is inviting everyone who volunteered to help with the search, including the hundreds on standby, to the Rusagonis Baptist Church on Thursday at 7 p.m. to meet the family and accept their heartfelt thank you.