A helping hand
The last thing Pierce County blade operator Daren Lysne expected to come across was a person laying in the middle of the road.
However, that was the situation Lysne found himself in on Sunday morning, Dec. 27 northeast of Knox while blading a road.
“It shook me up, that’s for sure,’ Lysne said.
He quickly got down from his machine to help the elderly rural resident Tony Keller to his feet and place him near an engine fan that was blowing warm air.
“He was conscious and talking, but he was definitely cold and tired,’ Lysne said. “He wasn’t saying a whole lot.”
Keller was attempting to walk back west to his farmstead after his vehicle became stuck along the road approximately a mile and a half away. At one point, he resorted to crawling when he became too tired. He nearly made it home, as Lysne found him right in front of his driveway around 11 a.m.
Lysne called a nearby landowner, Joe Bohl, who arrived a short time later with his son, Jerald.
Joe then called for an ambulance. “He (Tony) wanted to just go back to his house, but I knew he needed medical attention,’ Joe said. “No telling just how long he had been outside or on the ground.”
The Bohls placed him inside their pickup and headed south to meet the Rugby Ambulance along U.S. Highway 2 which then transported him to the Heart of America Medical Center.
Bohl said the conditions of the roads would have made it difficult for the ambulance to reach Keller’s farmstead.
Tony was on his way to church in Knox when his vehicle became stuck. The service began at 9 a.m., so it’s likely he had been outside for a good two hours.
“A mile walk may not seem that far, but in the cold and wind it takes a lot out of you,’ Lysne said. “It’s a good thing the temperature wasn’t below zero.”
Keller was dressed warm, wearing a winter jacket, hat and gloves, but his body temperature had dropped.
He spent a few days in the hospital recovering and his daughter, Cindy Lemar, said he suffered a minor heart attack during his trek back home. He’s doing well now.
Doctors were amazed Keller didn’t develop frostbite from being outside for so long.
She said her father waited a few minutes in his vehicle, but figured with the roads in rough shape there wouldn’t be any traffic, so that’s why he decided to head for home.
“Fr. Tom (Graner) came to visit him in the hospital my dad told him, ‘that’s what I get for trying to go to church,” Cindy said. “Fr. Tom said: ‘You didn’t get to church, but church came to you.”
Cindy expressed appreciation for Lysne, the Bohls and medical personnel for their help in carin g for her father.
The incident is another reminder of the dangers of getting caught outside in the winter.
Fortunately, this story had a happy ending.
“It’s just what we do up here,’ Bohl said. “Help our neighbors.”
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