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Rescue On Lake Poinsett

April 22, 2014, 6:00 PM by Don Jorgensen

Rescue On Lake Poinsett

A Hamlin County Deputy Sheriff is being hailed as a hero after rescuing a father and son from the cold waters of Lake Poinsett.

The father and son were trying to retrieve a football when their canoe capsized.

The call went out for help and within seconds, Deputy Sheriff Jon Barthel, who lives nearby, sprung into action to save the two who were in deep trouble.

Pastor Dan Overbo of the First Lutheran Church in Volga had his faith tested Monday morning.

Overbo and his nine-year-old son fell into the freezing waters of Lake Poinsett when their canoe tipped about 60 yards from shore. 

"I instantly sucked in, I swallowed water and it was so cold," Overbo said.

Overbo, who is a former lifeguard, says he tried to push his son to shore in the waterlogged canoe, but wasn't making much progress.  He was exhausted and cold.

"I could feel it in my fingertips and my toes of hypothermia; it was excruciating pain," Overbo said.

A neighbor called for help and alerted an off-duty sheriff's deputy who lives about a half-mile away.

Barthel came running as fast as he could over rocks and gravel, barefoot.

"I wasn't wearing any socks and didn't think I had enough time to put some shoes on, so I just took off running," Barthel said.  

Once he got to the scene, Barthel jumped into the freezing water without any regard for his own safety.

"Helped the little boy out first, brought him in and went back out there.  Grabbed the dad by the back of the arms and tucked him way up because he was exhausted," Barthel said.

Although cold, both Overbo and his son made it safely to shore, thanks to the heroics of a young and humble deputy who had only been with the department for six weeks.

"This was actually my first time doing something like this. If it happens again, maybe I could do it a little better, but there's always work that needs to be done. But it turned out well and I'm thankful for that," Barthel said.

Overbo is grateful beyond words.

"I looked at him and I said, 'Thanks for saving my life because I have three great kids, a dynamite wife.' He reached over to me and grabbed my hand and said, 'You're going to be okay,'" Overbo said.

Overbo and his son, Kyan, first warmed up in a bathtub full of warm water before going to the hospital where they were treated and released.

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