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Officer Honored For Ice Rescue of Special Needs Boy on Lake Michigan

by Game & Fish Online Staff   |  June 9th, 2017 0

The boy was saved in an ice rescue by the Michigan DNR officer who found the special needs child walking on the ice a mile from shore.

From Michigan Department of Natural Resources

A Michigan conservation officer was presented the DNR’s Lifesaving Award this week for his actions in February in rescuing a lost boy who had wandered onto dangerous Lake Michigan ice.

Conservation Officer Patrick Hartsig was honored Thursday during the regular meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission in Houghton.

On Feb. 5, after completing a snowmobile patrol in an adjacent county, Hartsig responded to a Delta County dispatch call regarding a 10-year-old boy with special needs who had run away from his family in the Gladstone area. The boy was last seen crossing the ice on Little Bay de Noc.

ice rescue

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Patrick Hartsig, right, receives the department’s Lifesaving Award and medal June 8 for his February 2017 rescue of a boy from the ice in Delta County. Presenting the award is DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler. (Michigan DNR image)

Because Hartsig regularly patrols Delta County, he had accurate, up-to-date knowledge of areas on the bay that had potentially treacherous ice. Hartsig launched his snowmobile and soon found the boy, who was wandering about one mile from shore. The child had no shoes, hat or gloves despite temperatures in the teens and 25-30 mph winds.

Hartsig, a first aid instructor and former paramedic, removed 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 Michigan State Police post in Gladstone, where 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.”

ice rescue

Officer Patrick Hartsig (Michigan DNR image)

Hartsig has been with the DNR for two years, serving Delta County and the surrounding area the entire time. He is a native of Romeo in Macomb 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

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