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Monday’s death of a 29-year-old mother of two provided a tragic tale of caution to the early part of trek season, when thousands of LDS teens around the world re-enact the Mormon pioneer exodus west.
Meaghan Lee Querry Blair of Rogers, Arkansas, suffered heat stroke symptoms near the end of a seven-mile hike through 95-degree heat Monday, the first day of the trek. She received immediate care and was transported by helicopter to a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she died.
“We express our love and deepest sympathies to the family of Meaghan Blair,” said Deborah Neria, spokeswoman for the Rogers Arkansas Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “This is a heartbreaking loss for the family and all who knew her. Meaghan leaves behind a husband, Michael, and two young children.”
Blair and her husband Michael were serving as a “ma” and “pa” for a “family” of teens on the trek. Trek groups typically wear pioneer-era clothing, pull handcarts and discuss the sacrifices made by mid-1800s handcart pioneers who walked across the American plains to Utah.
Stake leaders, including Blair’s father, took precautions against the heat at church-owned property near Pawhuska, Oklahoma, a local spokeswoman said.
The stake president, Greg Chandler, and one of his counselors, Brad Querry, who is Blair’s father, nicknamed themselves “Headache” and “Nausea” to remind the group of the symptoms of dehydration, according to a pre-trek Facebook post by Chandler’s wife, Valerie.
They monitored weather forecasts and altered the trek’s schedule so Monday’s hike started earlier, encountered additional shade and included swimming, Neria said.
The trek also included a doctor and two registered nurses.
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