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I am writing in the memory of my son, Chase Shott. Chase was on a long-awaited, well-planned, two-month, solo journey to the Western U.S. However, one week into his trip, he lost his life in a hiking accident by Mystic Lake.

On Oct. 18, my life changed forever. Chase was my only child and the dearest part of my life. My husband, Chase's dad, had passed away three years earlier on Oct. 28.

I am writing in order to thank all the people in Billings, Laurel and Columbia who assisted me and my friend when we had to make our frantic and heartbreaking trip to Montana to deal with all the final plans for Chase.

We were able to meet the two hikers who witnessed Chase's fall, found him and raced for help. We were able to hear from them, the sheriff, and several others about the changing weather and wind conditions on the mountain. Chase was an experienced hiker who had scaled mountains in Colorado and hiked in Illinois and Wisconsin frequently.

Chase's friends, coworkers, clients and family have made many donations in his memory. I have made a donation to the Stillwater County Search and Rescue, because they are the awesome and brave group of volunteers who brought my son down from the mountain, which allowed me to take him back home. I am asking that anyone who feels moved to donate to an organization this holiday season would seriously consider doing so to the SAR team. They risk their own lives on these rescues and pay for their own equipment. I pray if you or your loved ones ever need their services, you would have a successful rescue.

Kathy Shott

Roscoe, Ill.

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