Wheelchair

Typically, 30th wedding anniversaries are significant and memorable events. But Fred and Debbie Strubin never would’ve guessed theirs would be the day they rescued an elderly woman.

On Tuesday Oct 15th, Fred and Debbie were celebrating their matrimony with a trip to the North Breakwater Lighthouse on Lake Michigan. Also visiting that day were Walter and Joanne Burkhart, 68 and 61 respectively.

Joanne has limited mobility and uses a wheelchair. But when her husband let go of the wheelchair to take a picture, a gust of wind sent Joanne tumbling into the chilly water. Walter hurried in after her and was able to lift her head out of the water so she could breathe.

Luckily, Fred and Debbie had been walking behind them and quickly swooped in to help. They got Joanne out of the water and gave her a jacket to keep warm. Fred stayed with the couple while Debbie ran back to the beach to call 911.

According to Fred, “It was really a helpless feeling for a half hour. We tried to get her up but she was waterlogged and shivering. I felt so bad for her because she was so cold and shivering.” Eventually the authorities arrived and transported Joanne to Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital where she was treated and released.