One year ago, this October, Naomi Pascal was young lost her favorite toyTeddy and her family hike on Hidden Lake Trail, Glacier National Park.
“Pretty much almost back to Bigfork and we realized, I think Naomi was the one that realized Teddy was missing,” said Naomi’s dad, Ben Pascal.
Naomi considered Teddy a more than a bear. He was her first gift from her new family and the reason she adopted him in 2016 from an Ethiopian orphanage.
“Yeah, we have lots of pictures of her getting the bear and that was definitely her first toy and so it was really special that she was able to have that until we were able to go and meet her in person,” said Naomi’s mom, Addie Pascal.
Glacier National Park Ranger Tom Mazzarisi discovered Teddy while out patrolling after a massive snowstorm.
“On our way up, I noticed this little Teddy bear kind of with still snow melting off it, a little bit off the trail.”
Ranger Mazzarisi managed to save Teddy despite the storm and placed him on his patrol vehicle dashboard. He did so to honor Teddy as his vehicle’s official mascot.
“Perfect little spot, sat upright looking out the front windshield,” said Ranger Mazzarisi.
Teddy sat proudly on the dashboard of the patrol car for nearly a year. He helped keep an eye out for wild animals and bears.
“Over 5,000 miles I would think, a lot of time driving back and forth and spent a lot of time with bears, this probably in my career in the park service including Yellowstone has been the busiest year for bears.” Tom Mazzarisi Glacier National Park Ranger
Then, last week, a friend of the Pascals happened upon Teddy while hiking in Glacier National Park. He was seated on a dashboard for a patrol vehicle.
“They just happened upon this ranger truck randomly and her niece saw Teddy in the dashboard, and they texted a picture of Teddy to my wife, Addie, and said, ‘Is this the bear?’ And she’s like, ‘Yeah!’” said Ben.
Soon after, Addie and Ben broke the news to Naomi about Teddy’s return.
“I felt excited because I didn’t know I was going to ever see him again,” said Naomi.
A few days later, Teddy was express-mailed to the Pascal family home in Jackson, Wyoming, back in Naomi’s loving arms where he belongs.
“You got just like a little bit excited I think, just like a tiny bit excited. She was like jumping up and down she was so excited,” said Addie.
Ranger Mazzarisi indicated that he was delighted to keep Teddy company during the past year.
He hopes to be able to meet Naomi one day in person for a Teddy reunion in Glacier National Park.
“But it would be great to just talk to her and her family and just kind of tell them some stories from our travels together last year,” said Ranger Mazzarisi.
This story was first published by Sean Wells, KPAX.