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Angels definitely played role in rescue, grateful duck hunter says

December 19, 2011

From The Muskegon Chronicle

I am writing about a near death experience that I encountered on the Muskegon River near Mill Iron Road on the afternoon of Dec. 9. While on a scouting trip for duck hunting, I capsized my boat and was thrown in to 40-degree water. I went under three times before I was able to hang onto a log for 20 minutes. The air temperature was 27 degrees.

After calling for help to no avail, a boat with Dan Kitchka and his son, Matt, happened to come up the river. They saw the gas can from my boat floating nearby and realized something was wrong. Eventually, they saw my hand waving.

Normally, they would not have gone upriver to scout, but something told them to do so before calling it a day. I have no doubt there was a higher power that led them to do this.

Once they got me back to the launch, Craig Long and his son, Hunter, assisted Matt and Dan in getting my wadders and coat off to try and warm me up. They realized I was in a life-and-death situation and called 911.

Dave Glotzbach from Muskegon Township Fire Department arrived on the scene, quickly assessed the situation and immediately called for an ambulance.
Pro-med Ambulance arrived within minutes and started an IV with warm saline solution to start warming up my body. I had reached a low temperature of 83 degrees.

On the way to Mercy Health Partners, their personnel were awesome as they continually reassured me that I was going to be all right. Upon arrive at the hospital, Dr. Ryan Offman, nurse Kelly Ordiz and the rest of the emergency room staff were waiting and immediately started the process of warming my body up.

It was estimated that if I had been in the water a few more minutes, I could have gone into cardiac arrest. To these people, I will forever owe my life.

In addition, I need to thank Joe Strong who kept my truck secure at his house. Additionally, Joe, Craig, Hunter, Matt and Dan helped in retrieving my boat and motor.

Also, I want to thank Dave Janusiewicz who took the time to drain the motor so it would not freeze up along with putting the boat on the trailer and keeping it at his house until I could pick it up.

I will never be able to find the words to thank them enough for saving my life and all the thoughtful things they did afterward.

So, when you question whether angels truly exist, just call me and I will assure you they are alive and well in Muskegon. Because of these “angels,” I will be able to enjoy the best Christmas ever.

Jeff Holden
Muskegon

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