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Colbert EMA officials took search for fishermen personally, while also learning lessons

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) - For 18 days, crews combed the waters of Pickwick Lake searching for two brothers who didn’t come home from a fishing trip.

On March 19, the search came to an end with the discovery of Jeremiah Sanders' body, four days after his brother Jacob's body was located.

Colbert County EMA Director Mike Melton said it was a search they took personally.

"I can't imagine what they are going through," Melton said. “But at the same point, for everybody involved it had to be some type of relief."

Dozens of crews from across north Alabama helped in the daily searches, while family members looked on.

With command posts now stowed away, EMA officials say they can start debriefing search crews to help better their future responses. And although each incident is unique, Melton said there is always something they can take away from it.

“What we can do is try to hone in on our skills as far as, okay you’ve got a lead -- how can we address that lead better than what we did this last time,” Melton explained. “Those are some of the issues that we’re going through in the next couple of weeks.”

Jacob and Jeremiah Sanders went missing March 1, 2016. Jacob's body was found March 15. Jeremiah's body was found March 19.

Jacob and Jeremiah Sanders went missing March 1, 2016. Jacob's body was found March 15. Jeremiah's body was found March 19.

Melton is hopeful family members can begin the long healing process.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to assist the family with costs associated with the upcoming burials and other expenses.

Monday afternoon family members of Jeremiah and Jacob Sanders made funeral arrangements. According to a family representative, visitation will be Thursday from 12 to 2 p.m. at Cordova High School, with the funeral immediately following.

The school is located at 183 School Rd, Cordova, AL 35550.