3/7/12 – The Beaver Dam Police and Fire Commission last night signed off on the wording for the Lifesaving Citations that will be given to those involved in the last month’s lake rescue. On February 18, Eric Chouinard was with his fishing buddy Bobby Buschke when they saw the headlights of a half-dozen snowmobiles disappear into open water. They teamed up with two snowmobiler friends – Jaime and Scott Hanser – and grabbed a rope from a neighboring ice shanty. The civilian hero’s pulled two people from the water before emergency officials arrived on scene. The four will be presented with Civilian Service Citations that their “quick thinking and courage…exemplify what it means to be a good citizen, good neighbor and Good Samaritan.”
Lifesaving Citations will also being given to 43 emergency responders from the Beaver Dam Police and Fire departments, the Dodge County Sheriffs Department and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Mannel is also singling out the department’s hovercraft operators who ventured out onto the ice that night.
Beaver Dam Fire Department hovercraft operators Doug Sackett and Tony Thomas donned their ice rescue suits that night and responded to an area near High Island. After locating the third victim on the far side of the 40-acre open water “goose hole” as it’s called, and transporting him safely back to shore, the pair returned the scene to resume the search not knowing yet how many more victims were in the water. Mannel says Sackett and Thomas worked “tirelessly to overcome obstacles” in locating the fourth victim, including temporary mechanical problems, a moonless night and clothing, debris and broken ice that all had to be checked individually. Mannel says their life saving actions resulted in the saving of one life, ensured the safety of four others and gave the last victim the best possible chance for survival.
The Life Saving Citations will be presented by the mayor at an upcoming meeting of the Beaver Dam Common Council.