Hometown Hero: Allen County Rescue Workers

When emergencies arise, it's crucial that rescue workers work together as a team. When two young boys became lost on Barren River, the Allen County Rescue Squad and fire departments, with some help from Air Evac, came together for a happy ending.
Twelve-year-old Nathan Rogers and 13-year-old Nick Durkalski are naturally adventurous.

"I had just gotten my kayak and I wanted to take it out," Nick explained.

So the boys headed to the Barren River Dam and set out on the water toward the Highway 101 bridge.

"We were just kayaking and having some fun," Nathan said.

But pretty soon, the boys noticed something was wrong.

"We started to wonder when the bridge was going to come so we started thinking it was right around the corner," Nick said.

"We looked at the map and we had the distance wrong," Nathan added.

Nick used his cell phone to call his mom.

She then contacted the Army Corps of Engineers who paged the Allen County rescue personnel to the scene.

"We responded to that area and began a search for them by foot along the riverbank, just hollering their names and seeing if we could locate them," said Jeff Young, a member of the Allen County-Scottsville Fire Department.

With the water so low, rescue workers had a hard time determining how far Nick and Nathan had traveled.

Meanwhile, the boys' parents were waiting anxiously for word on their sons.

"It was like having your family with you. I couldn't have asked for any better help, care or compassion," said Catherine Rogers, Nathan's mother.

With nightfall approaching, the rescue crew enlisted the help of Air Evac, who was able to spot Nick and Nathan and get them off the water.

"They were elated to be back safe," said Gary Petty, director of Allen County Emergency Management.

"I felt relieved and tired because we had been paddling for that long," Nick admitted.

Just how long? Nick and Nathan spent seven hours on the river with no food or water, and it could have been much longer.

"We've got some real dedicated fireman and rescue workers and other people and everyone is a volunteer," said Michael Cooksey, chief of the Allen County-Scottsville fire department.

"The resources in Allen County depend on each other. We work together as a team. This was a great effort and the results show the outcome," Petty said.

The Allen County-Scottsville, Meador and Cedar Springs Fire Departments, plus the Allen County Rescue Squad all responded to the scene.

Nick and Nathan say they won't be kayaking on the river again anytime soon.


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