By THOMAS A. KVAMME
Town & Country Writer
Time was set aside during the March 19 meeting of the Mille Lacs County Board of Commissioners to acknowledge citizens and law enforcement officials who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
The purpose and scope of the awards are spelled out as, “being a time to recognize an employee who performs their duties in an exemplary manner.”
At the same time, this directive calls for citizens, who at times perform a meritorious act that deserves recognition to also be so honored.
During his yearly awards presentation, Mille Lacs County Sheriff Brent C. Lindgren called attention to two Mille Lacs County residents who fit the meritorious category.
Lindgren informed the commissioners that earlier this month, Brian Johnson and Karl Norvell, both of Milaca, “went above and beyond anything a citizen should go through on the day.”
The written report stated, “I would like to bring to your attention two Mille Lacs County residents who on March 9, 2013, had a part in saving the life of a 1 1/2-year-old girl and had a major role in assisting two critically-injured adults.”
The sheriff later explained, Johnson, who operates Johnson’s Towing in Milaca, was on another service call when word reached Mille Lacs County Deputy Al Tutland of another nearby crash, with a vehicle possibly on fire.
Johnson, a local approved towing operator who is contracted to work with the county, made his way to the call of this accident which was located about 12 miles north of Milaca. Lindgren pointed out the call came on a day with snow and wet, slushy conditions.
At that scene, Johnson was assisted by a passerby, Milaca resident Norvell. The two did what they could do before other help arrived on the scene.
According to the report, Johnson and Norvell helped two critically-injured people get out of the vehicle they were trapped in.
This being a large, Suburban type vehicle, it was only while assisting the driver and passenger in the front, that it was revealed that there was an infant child in the back of the vehicle.
The vehicle had reportedly been loaded in the back with scrap firewood, and upon crashing into a bridge embankment, the shifted load of wood covered up the child. Once Johnson and Norvell removed enough of the wood, they learned a chunk of wood had impaled the child’s head and the child was not breathing.
With the child safely removed from the vehicle, she began to breath and the men tended to the child until medical personnel arrived.
That child is now alive thanks to the quick thinking and work of Johnson and Norvell, Lindgren said.
Lindgren also recognized several officers, deputies and correctional personnel for separate life-saving efforts.
For the full story, see the Thursday, March 28 print edition of the Times.