Heroic effort to save lives garners awards, recognition

Hero is a word that gets tossed around quite a lot this days. It’s applied, inappropriately we believe, to everyone from political leaders to sports personalities.

However, actual heroes — people who go above and beyond in service to others — were recognized recently by the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., when several local residents received awards for their efforts in attempting to save lives on Lake Superior.

This real-life drama took place in waters off the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the fall of 2021 when officials tried to rescue a pair of kayakers who were in distress as a result of gale-force winds.

A story in today’s Mining Journal has full details.

“Chief ranger Joe Hughes and ranger Matthew Nemeth were honored for their actions during rescue operations for two Lake Superior kayakers caught in gale force winds while paddling within the national lakeshore in September 2021,” the story details. “Additional crew members during the operation were National Park Service volunteer Lynnea Fredrikson and Michigan State trooper Trever Kirkpatrick-Bray. They were recognized with a Citizen Bravery Award during the ceremony.”

“Although the two kayakers sadly did not survive, I am very proud of the heroic efforts Joe, Matt, Lynnea and Trever made to try to rescue them,” said David Horne, park superintendent, in a news release. “They all represented themselves and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore admirably, with honor, and with courage.” 

We couldn’t agree more. All four represent the very best the Upper Peninsula can offer and we join many others in giving our congratulations and gratitude.


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