Joe Salmon , 17, of Spirit Lake, Corey McConnell, 30, of Spirit Lake, Kody Harrelson, 26, of Nevada, Cody Chester, 27, of Estherville, and Chris Parks, 27, of Hawarden are 5 heroes who responded quickly to an incident that took place on February 4 at East Okoboji Lake.
They rushed to the aid of an 83-year-old man, Thomas Lee and his dog Cooper, whose Jeep had plunged into the icy waters. The quick actions of the 5 men saved both Thomas Lee and Cooper.
The Okoboji High School junior immediately called 911 for racing off into the water, which was around three to four feet deep.
‘I took one step and [the water] went to about my chest,’ he told the Des Moines Register.
The men found Lee in a state of shock, with water up to his chest and his foot stuck between the center console and the seat. Tom Gustafson’s video shows that the group first worked to get the dog out of the vehicle. Salmon then noticed something moving in the backseat and jumped up on the back bumper.
“I got on the bumper of the rear and tried opening the back door, but all the windows were locked,” one of the men said. “Then one guy gave me a knife and I hit the back glass a couple of times.”
After the glass shattered, the teen was able to scoop the dog out and toss him several feet across the icy lake towards the four others. The dog landed in the water but was able to swim to safety and two of the men pulled him out.
“I’m happy that he was okay and the dog was okay. It was just crazy at the time,” Salmon said, recalling the incident. Salmon had to climb through the back window of the vehicle in order to reach Lee, whose foot was pinned between the center console and the seat.
Salmon then pulled the console up to free Lee before helping him out of the car. The other men then walked Lee up a snowy embankment and toward the Okoboji Store, while Salmon lost a shoe in the process. Fortunately, both Lee and Cooper were uninjured.
The teen – who is on the wrestling, football, and track team – was examined by EMTs for minors cuts and received dry close from the nearby Okoboji Store, as did the other men.
‘I’ve never done anything like that,’ he told the local outlet.
Lee told the Des Moines Register that he wanted to ‘thank the people who helped and the store that took the dog in and dried him off.’
The Jeep was recovered on Sunday.