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Chesapeake man coined a national hero thousands of miles away from home

Local News
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MAUI (WAVY) — A 35-year-old hiker was missing for two weeks in Hawaii before being found by a dedicated rescue crew. The story not only has a happy ending… but a Hampton Roads twist!

Late Friday evening, Amanda Eller was found alive in a Maui forest with the help of one local Chesapeake man. 

When Chris Berquist moved to Hawaii a few years ago, he never thought life would land him in a volunteer rescue helicopter. 

But when he laid eyes on Eller from birds eye-view, it all made sense. 

“I screamed it right away. We found her we found her!  And it was absolutely no doubt at all after saw her in the helicopter we were all so excited you could feel the whole helicopter swing over to that side,” he said.

When Eller was found, everything came full circle… but the moment almost didn’t happen.

“Sunday was my day off, so I came to volunteer that Sunday, and I was supposed to go to work the next week. And my employer didn’t want to give me any time off, so I had to make a choice between the two,” he said.

He chose to volunteer. 

When we asked if he regretted his decision he said, “Are you kidding me? It was the greatest thing ever….even if we hadn’t been as lucky as we just were… It still would have been the right thing to do,” Berquist said.

The experience reminded him of his roots here in Hampton Roads. 

“One of the things I miss most about being in Virginia was the sense of community. I always felt like I had good neighbors and good community back home and I hadn’t necessarily felt that out here before and now it is overwhelmingly positive strong feeling with this whole community,” said the Chesapeake native.

Chris’s advice to those who have the opportunity to change or save someone’s life?

“Never give up, especially when the hours turn to days and the days turn to weeks… Never give up.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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