Brennan Hawkins, center, with his family
AP Photo; Steve C. Wilson/AP
By her own admission, Jody Hawkins, the mother of the Boy Scout who was lost in the Utah mountains for nearly four days, worried whether her 11-year-old Brennan could have made it, given the tough elements.
"I really didn't think he could survive that long in the wilderness," an emotional Hawkins told reporters Wednesday as her husband Toby and other family members – including Brennan – were with her outside the family home in Bountiful, Utah. "When they told me Brennan was still alive and in good shape, my brain still cannot comprehend that."
At the news gathering, Brennan responded to only one question: how he felt. "Good," he said, before retreating next to his mom as his parents fielded other questions from swarms of reporters. Yellow balloons blanketed the front lawn of their house.
"He's doing very well," said Toby Hawkins. "He's very tired, but playing with his brothers and friends."
Lost since last Friday, when he wandered away from his scout troop, Brennan survived by using his wits and making do as best he could until he was found on Monday by volunteer rescuer Forrest Nunley, a housepainter from Salt Lake City.
Brennan told his parents and a friend that he slept in a crouch, pulling on his sweatsuit to keep warm because, "it was freezing at night," according to his mother.
"When an ATV or horse came by, he got off the trail. When they left, he got back on the trail," said Jody Hawkins. "His biggest fear, he told me, was that someone would steal him."
Describing the scene outside the Hawkins house, the Los Angeles Times reports that a huge banner in the neighborhood reads: "Welcome Brennan. The Heavens are Open."