Officers' immediate responses made the difference in Calhoun, Lake county incidents
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has recognized two of its conservation officers for their lifesaving actions earlier this year.
Conservation Officers Jeffrey Goss and Josiah Killingbeck received the DNR's Lifesaving Award during Thursday's regular meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission in Lansing.
"Both of these emergencies could have ended tragically had it not been for the actions of Conservation Officers Jeff Goss and Josiah Killingbeck," said Dean Molnar, assistant chief of the DNR Law Enforcement Division, who presented Killingbeck_Goss_award_reducedthe officers with the award. "Their extensive training, rapid responses and professional conduct made all the difference. We're proud of Jeff Goss and Josiah Killingbeck for upholding the DNR Law Enforcement Division's highest standards. Their outstanding service to their communities makes them most deserving of this recognition."
On May 4, Goss responded to a Calhoun County dispatch call regarding a subject who was suffering from a drug overdose. He quickly arrived at the location because it was only 4 miles from where he was working. Once at the scene, Goss found a citizen performing chest compressions on the subject. After checking the subject, Goss observed that he had aspirated breathing and a pulse, so Goss instructed the citizen to cease the chest compressions.
Goss then administered three sternal rubs but the subject did not respond. He opened the subject's eyelids and noticed the pupils were very large. Goss continued monitoring the subject until his breathing and pulse slowed drastically, updating dispatchers of this change in condition.
Soon afterward, the subject's breathing and pulse stopped, and his face was turning purple. Goss immediately started chest compressions, and after a while, the subject regained his pulse and normal coloration returned to his face.
Goss administered two sternal rubs but the subject did not respond. Goss stayed with him and monitored his condition until medical personnel arrived. The emergency responders administered medication to the subject, and within a few minutes he was able to walk to the stretcher.
Goss has been with the DNR for 11 years, serving Calhoun County and the surrounding area. He is a native of North Branch in Lapeer County.
Killingbeck's lifesaving incident occurred June 30 when he responded to a distress call along the Pere Marquette River in Lake County. A family of four was canoeing on the river when the craft overturned, throwing all occupants into the water.
The river was unseasonably high and the water flow was swifter than usual. The father and son were swept downstream while the mother and daughter remained near the canoe and became stuck in a logjam.
The mother was unable to locate her daughter. After calling her for some time, she reached under the canoe and discovered that her daughter was underneath, partially wedged in the logjam. After freeing her, the mother placed her daughter on top of the debris in which they were stuck.
Realizing her daughter's skin was blue and she was unresponsive, the mother immediately rendered CPR and revived her. While traveling to the scene, Killingbeck used his detailed knowledge of the local area to determine the spot where the family likely was, and advised dispatchers and a sheriff's deputy of the best response location.
The deputy was first on the scene along the river and located the mother and daughter. The father and son managed to escape the river and walked upstream to where the mother and daughter were trapped. Killingbeck arrived soon after and worked with the deputy to assess the situation.
Although a swift-water response team had been notified, Killingbeck knew that every minute was critical and he feared the mother and daughter were in immediate danger. The conservation officer crawled out onto a downed tree log that was just upstream of the mother and daughter.
After shimmying out on the narrow log, which was in fast-moving water more than 6 feet deep, Killingbeck was able to rescue the daughter and get her back to shore with assistance from the deputy and other responders who had since arrived. Killingback then assisted the mother out of the water.
The daughter was transported to a local hospital before ultimately being sent to a children's hospital for evaluation. She was released a few days later with no reported health issues.
Killingbeck has been with the DNR for more than three years, serving Lake County and the surrounding area. He is a native of Luther in Lake County.
Michigan conservation officers are elite, highly trained professionals who serve in every corner of the state. They are fully commissioned peace offers with authority to enforce the state's criminal laws. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers
Twenty-three young men and women currently are going through training with the goal of becoming Michigan conservation officers. To get a close-up look at their challenges and accomplishments, subscribe to the weekly conservation officer academy blog, which also will be posted on the Michigan DNR Facebook page. View previous blogs from Recruit School #8.
Contact: Lt. Andrew Turner (Calhoun County), 517-284-4720 or Lt. John Jurcich (Lake County) 231-775-9727