Area couple donate to Hillsboro EMS after being rescued

Many of us often try to make deals when we are in trouble, but one local Marion County couple followed through on that deal.

On Tuesday, May 21, Hillsboro Fire and Rescue was called to 170th at Falcon for an elderly couple, Harold and Sue Stultz, trapped in their vehicle by flood waters up to the windows of their pickup.

“The swift water caught us and turned us around. It started coming in the truck and the truck was leaning backwards. My husband knew that there was a six foot drop off just a few feet from us so he knew we had to get out of the truck.”

Harold got out and helped his wife out where he led her to the edge of the water on the side of the road. Sue was unable to go any further so she lay down on the road, and they watched as their truck filled with water.

“We called for help and waited. But it was still raining and very muddy, and we knew that they would have a hard time getting through.”

When the Fire and Rescue team got there, they found that they could not reach the couple without a boat.

“I was first to arrive on scene and I saw the two people slowly making their way to the opposite bank of the swollen creek. I was on the east side and they were on the west. I directed other emergency response units to get to the east bank while I kept eyes on the couple, who had now thankfully gotten to dry land,” said Fire Chief Ben Steketee. “All attempts to get vehicles to the west bank were futile. High water or mud made that area inaccessible. We needed a boat, which we don’t have.”

Rescue funds that would otherwise be available for one had been diverted to the purchase of radios. The team had dry suits, life jackets, ropes and equipment and training, but no boat.

“Goessel Fire has a small inflatable boat, so we called them, and they brought it. Because it has no motor, I put two rescuers (Captain Matt Hein and Firefighter Trevor Yost) in the water to cross the creek and assess the couple and to get a rope across the creek that was still rising. They pulled the boat across and loaded the couple in. We then pulled the boat back across with a rope we had attached to the back of the boat. Once they were safe on our side, we put them in the ambulance and they went to the hospital to be checked out,” said Steketee.

While the two hour rescue was taking place, Harold asked Steketee why they didn’t have a boat. He was told about how the efforts to get one had been fruitless. Harold stated that he was going to buy the team a boat after they rescued the couple.

The very next day, Harold and Sue went to the Hillsboro City Hall and presented Steketee with a check for $2,000.00 for the purchase of a boat.

“Mr. Stultz is a man of his word. Their generous donation, along with other funding, will get Hillsboro Fire/Rescue a boat, so that we can provide quicker water rescues, and like Goessel, help out our neighboring Emergency Responders,” said Steketee.

The couple did not suffered any injuries.

“We are fine, just a little embarrassed,” Sue said. “I told my husband that we’ve been married 60 years next month so I guess we needed a little excitement.”

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