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Ottawa Co. deputy who responded to December barn explosion given Lifesaving Award

Sheriff Steve Kempker said the deputy's quick actions likely saved Carl Beintema's life back in December.
Credit: Ottawa County Board of Commissioners

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. — An Ottawa County deputy received a Lifesaving Award at the Board of Commissioners meeting for what is being called a "Christmas miracle."

On Dec. 23, a barn explosion in Allendale critically injured 37-year-old Carl Beintema, who was trapped inside the burning barn. Deputy Joe Rohloff braved dangerous blizzard conditions to reach Carl.

After Carl was pulled out of the barn, Rohloff began to give him medical treatment. Sheriff Steve Kemper, who presented the award, said that without Rohloff's quick response and treatment, Carl likely would not have survived.

To show her gratitude, Carl's wife Ashleigh called into the meeting via Zoom, thanking Rohloff for saving her husband's life.

"That night, Joey, you are the one who allowed my husband to continue to be in our future to see his girls grow up and for us to grow old together," she said.

Credit: Ottawa County Board of Commissioners
Ashleigh and Carl Beintema joining the Board of Commissioners meeting via Zoom.

Since the explosion, a GoFundMe has been started to help pay for Carl's medical bills. Shortly after the explosion, his right leg was amputated at the knee and a steel rod was placed in his left leg to strengthen his ankle, according to updates posted by Ashleigh. 

Now, Carl is working toward physical therapy and outpatient care.

"We knew it would take long and so our family is forever thankful for the selfless act that you did for us without thinking twice and you showed up, because you knew that we needed you," Ashleigh said to Rohloff at the meeting.

Rohloff is expected to visit Ashleigh and Carl in person soon.

To see updates on Carl's condition or support the GoFundMe, click here.

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