Lincoln County Warden saves life
By: Joanne M. Haas/DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement
All in a day’s work: DNR wardens praised for split-second reactions to save a life
In connection to the Department of Natural Resources mission, the motto of the Wisconsin conservation warden service is “Protecting People and Natural Resources.” And for 5 conservation wardens, that daily motto included saving a life with instant decisions that came from training, instinct — and putting the safety of others above their own.
And for the wardens recognized by their colleagues at the ceremony last month, Mickelberg said, the impact and the difference they have made is here for all to see. “I cannot think of a greater gift than to save a life or display an act of valor in the face of danger to protect a life.”
May 5, 2013: Warden Ron Nerva – Lincoln County
Conservation Warden Ron Nerva was on his way to survey a remote Lincoln County fishing spot off a back highway on May 5, 2013, when he spotted a familiar van that was parked and missing its driver. And that’s about when Warden Ron saw the grass on fire near the county forest. Warden Ron took off on a rapid foot search for the local man. He followed the tracks and came upon some smoldering clothes, and he could see footprints in the ash showing the man had tried to extinguish the fire with his feet. Still, no man. Warden Ron picked up his pace and made circles until he spotted the man on the ground. The man was moaning and in need of medical care. Plus, the fire was burning about 10 feet from the man. Warden Ron called for an ambulance while keeping the approaching fire from the man. Medical staff didn’t expect the man to survive, but later that same summer the man was back camping in the same area.
July 1, 2012: Wardens Dave Hausman and Paul Sickman – St. Croix County
July 4, 2012: Warden Ed McCann – La Crosse County
Thirty seconds either way and this Mississippi River story of the late-night angler would have been a search-and-recovery drama instead of the split-second action rescue. Things were normal until 11:23 p.m. on July 4, 2012. That’s when Conservation Warden Ed McCann spotted a cooler floating down the river. Intrigued, Warden Ed motored closer and spotted a fishing boat completely submerged – with the angler still standing in it. By now, the fisherman – about 100 pounds heavier than Warden Ed – was in water up to his thighs. As Warden Ed neared the angler, the waves broke the anchor free and the front of the angler’s boat swung. Warden Ed gunned his patrol boat and made a radio call for help. Warden Ed yelled to the angler to grab the warden boat gunnel so he could get pulled into the patrol boat by the warden. It sounded good. However, at the precise moment when all that was to happen, the angler’s boat sunk completely. But the angler still was still able to kick off his boat as it went down and he flew over the boat’s side and into the warden’s boat, landing right on top of Warden Ed. Cold but OK, the angler went home with a plan. Buy a life jacket – and then wear it.4
July 4, 2013: Warden Jon Scharbarth – Portage County