DNR officer honored for ice rescue earlier this year

Photo courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources

UPPER PENINSULA, MI (WNEM) -- A Michigan Department of Natural Resources officer was honored for rescuing a boy who earlier this year was lost on dangerous Lake Michigan ice in the Upper Peninsula.

Conservation Officer Patrick Hartsig was presented with the DNR's Lifesaving Award on Thursday, June 9 in Houghton.

Investigators said on Feb. 5 a 10-year-old boy with special needs ran away from his family in the Gladstone area. The boy was last seen crossing the ice on Little Bay de Noc.

Hartsig heard the dispatch call about the boy while completing a snowmobile patrol in a nearby county. Hartsig responded to the call and found the boy wandering about a mile from shore.

The child had no shoes, hat or gloves on despite the temperatures being in the teens and 25-30 mph winds.

Hartsig, a first aid instructor and former paramedic, took off the boy's socks and warmed his feet. He then put his own boots, gloves and snowmobile helmet on the child before racing across the ice to the Michgian State Police post in Gladstone.

The boy's mother, a county sheriff's deputy and an ambulance were waiting.

"This was a dangerous situation that could have ended tragically," said Gary Hagler, chief of the DNR Law Enforcement Division, who presented Hartsig with the award. "Every minute was critical. But thanks to Conservation Officer Hartsig's fast response, first-rate training and knowledge of his patrol area, the child was reunited with his family. DNR conservation officers have protected Michigan's citizens and resources for 130 years. It's officers like Pat Hartsig who maintain our high standards. The dedication and professionalism he displayed make him most deserving of this award."

Hartsig has been with the DNR for two years. He serves Delta County and the surrounding area.

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