Four men honored for saving the life of 10-year-old boy

Published 9:01 am Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The story could have ended differently.

Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi recounted the heroics of four men who saved a 10-year-old Chatfield boy who almost died from drowning last month at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park-Beaver Trails Campground.

The incident had happened at 11:34 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2 when the child was found floating face-down in a pool. It was previously reported the child was not breathing and was purple in the face.

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Amazi said while deputies were responding, bystanders were already providing lifesaving aid to the child. Four men who were complete strangers did everything they could to save the boy. Two were firefighters and one was a nurse.

They were honored by Amazi and Mower County commissioners during Tuesday’s meeting and were presented plaques that recognized their heroism.

They were Wade Johnson, a Blooming Prairie firefighter, Bret Osborn, a Winnebago firefighter, Tyler Kirchner, and Grant Avikainen.

Amazi said Kirchner was the one who pulled the child out of the water, and Osborn, Johnson and Avikainen began to immediately perform CPR and resuscitation efforts. The boy was then been transported to Mayo Clinic Health Systems in Rochester by Gold Cross.

He was given oxygen and kept overnight. The child’s prognosis was excellent and was released.

“It could’ve been a whole other story,” the sheriff said. “It could’ve been a whole other story.”

Also present to honor the four individuals were the child and the child’s family. Identities were withheld out of privacy for the child.

After the presentation of awards, the little boy ran up to the four men and hugged the people who saved his life. Had they not acted quickly, the outcome would have been tragic.

“Everyone was where they were supposed to be,” one of the child’s relatives stated through tears. “Thank you.”