DNR officer honored for saving special needs child from ice

HOUGHTON, MICH. - A Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officer was honored on Thursday for his efforts in rescuing a 10-year-old special needs from Lake Michigan ice in the Upper Peninsula. 

Conservation Officer Patrick Hartsig was awarded the DNR's Lifesaving Award during the Michigan Natural Resources Commission in Houghton. 

On Feb 5., after completing a snowmobile patrol in a nearby county -- Hartsig joined in the response of finding a 10-year-old special needs boy that had run away from his family in the Gladstone area. The boy had last been seen crossing the ice on Little Bay de Noc.

Hartsig regularly patrols Delta County and had a accurate, up-to-date knowledge of the areas of the bay that had more dangerous patches of ice. He searched the lake and found the boy wandering about 1-mile from shore.

The boy had no shoes on, hat or gloves despite temperatures in the teens and 25-30 mph winds. Hartsig removed the boy's socks to warm his feet -- than gave him his own boots, gloves and snowmobile helmet before taking him to shore to the Michigan State Police post in Gladstone. 

“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.”

According to a news release, 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.

To learn more about about DNR conversation officers, visit www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.

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April Stevens is a multi-platform producer at WZZM 13. Have a news tip? Email news@wzzm13.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.

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