Currently The Leader's managing editor, Echo Day is an 11-year veteran of the paper.

BURLISON – The wife of a man who went missing from Baskin Road Monday says she is thankful for the efforts that brought her husband back home. 

JoAnn McCommon last saw her husband, who has been diagnosed with dementia, Sunday night as she was going to bed. 

“He’d taken a nap and when he woke up it was dark. He thought it was Monday morning,” she said. “I don’t know if you’ve ever dealt with this or not, but you don’t argue with them, you agree.” 

He was sitting on the front porch, waiting on the sunrise, when she last saw him. 

When the 86-year-old wasn’t in bed the next morning she thought he may be in the bathroom. She ate breakfast and, as she put her bowl in the sink, noticed through the window his truck was missing. And so was he.

Before his daughter could arrive from Munford, Tipton County deputies were already on scene to begin searching for her husband. 

“It just exploded,” JoAnn said of the news her husband was missing. 

She credits the sheriff’s office, caring people on social media and lots of prayer with bringing him home later that night. 

“It just spread, it was amazing.” 

Harold’s daughter put his photo and a photo of his truck on Facebook, asking for help from the public in locating him. 

The sheriff’s office did the same and put a silver alert – which is a notification for law enforcement should they need to run his tags – on the vehicle.

That paid off. 

At approximately 8:30 p.m. Harold ended up at a water treatment plant in metro Nashville, where a security guard called in his tags and then called JoAnn. 

“He told me it seemed like the road just ended there. He told the security guard, ‘I need to call a family member. I’m lost.’ He didn’t know how much time had gone by but he told me, ‘I prayed and talked to myself while I drove. I knew I was lost.’” 

His grandsons drove to Nashville to pick him up and bring him back to Burlison. 

During the 14-hour event, the Facebook posts made by Harold’s daughter and the sheriff’s office were shared tens of thousands of times. Deputy Chief Shannon Beasley said the TCSO’s post alone reached more than 83,000 users. 

“It went to Florida, Virginia, Colorado,” JoAnn said. “It was everywhere.” 

As deputies from Tipton, Lauderdale and Shelby counties conducted a ground search, the Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter did an aerial search of the nearby fields. Neighbors brought food. People all over the country prayed. 

“I’m so thankful for Pancho Chumley, the sheriff’s office and the hundreds of people who drove up and down the roads looking for him,” JoAnn said. “I’m a firm believer in prayer. Prayer is what brought him home.”

More than anything, everyone is thankful for the best possible ending to the story. 

“Of all the things that could have happened, they got the best outcome,” Beasley said. “It’s a great ending, that’s for sure.” 

In his official statement, Chumley thanked everyone for their hard work and thanked the McCommon family for assisting through the use of social media. 

“All these people had a hand in making this a success story for the McCommon family.” 

Echo Day is The Leader's managing editor. To contact her, call 901-476-7116 or email eday@covingtonleader.com.

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