News release: 2 DNR conservation officers recognized for lifesaving efforts

June 12, 2023

Two Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officers recently were recognized for their lifesaving efforts earlier this year.

CO Sean Williams, who is stationed in Ely, in February saved the life of a man who was snowshoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and was unable to get out. CO Jeremy Henke, who is stationed in Albert Lea, in May used an automated external defibrillator to help save the life of a man suffering a cardiac event. All COs have carried AEDs since this spring; this marked the first time one was deployed in a lifesaving effort.

“Conservation officers have a long, proud tradition of helping people in need,” said. Col. Rodmen Smith, director of the DNR Enforcement Division. “Officers Henke and Williams answered the call – as all conservation officers do – and this recognition is well-deserved.”

In his lifesaving effort, Williams and a member of the St. Louis County Rescue Squad followed a man’s snowshoe tracks 3 miles into the BWCAW, and then into a thickly wooded bog area. When they located him, he was stuck past his knee in a deadfall tree and unable to free himself. He didn’t have the proper equipment or attire to spend an unexpected night in the wilderness, and likely would not have made it through the night. Rescuers transported him to safety as darkness fell and the temperature began to plummet.

Henke, for his part, was checking anglers when he heard local police officers receive a call about an unconscious person near his location. Henke responded immediately to the scene. An Albert Lea police officer began CPR while Henke prepared the AED and delivered a shock. Ambulance personnel arrived shortly thereafter and delivered two more shocks to the man before transporting him to the hospital.

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