From today’s Johnstown (PA) Tribune-Democrat. Randy Haulk is pastor of the Meyersdale, PA, Grace Brethren Church.
BY KECIA BAL
BERLIN — Like thousands of others in the area, avid hunter Roger Deem woke early Monday to pursue a favorite pastime.
His annual tradition of heading out on the first day of deer season turned tragic when the 56-year-old Meyersdale man fell about 20 feet from a tree stand to his death, Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller said.
Deem’s family characterized him as a hard-working and loving family man and a faithful churchgoer.
“He was a very energetic man,” said his wife, Pamela Deem. “He loved spending time with his grandchildren.”
A recently laid-off laborer at FreightCar America and former foreman, Deem always had enjoyed working with his hands.
“He was a jack-of-all-trades,” his wife said, adding that the couple sang in the choir at Meyersdale Grace Brethren Church. Roger Deem sang tenor. The family lived in South Fork before moving to rural Meyersdale.
State police said Deem was found about 100 yards off Glennoris School Road in Brothersvalley Township. Another hunter called emergency services when he saw Deem lying at the base of a tree. State police called it an accidental death.
The fatal fall was not considered a hunting accident. But Mel Shake, a regional supervisor with the state Game Commission said hunters should purchase appropriate safety devices when they buy a tree stand.
“One of the most important things for people to remember when using an elevated hunting platform is to use some sort of fall-restraint device – one that won’t slip up around the chest, preferably a full body harness,” Shake said.