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Ice rescuer honored with lifesaving award

WILLMAR -- Myron Clark figures he just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Clark, a longtime employee of Kandiyohi County Public Works, was out on Long Lake north of Willmar late in the afternoon of Feb. 12, putting up "thin ice"...

Anne Polta / TribuneMyron Clark, a 33-year employee of Kandiyohi County Public Works, was honored with a lifesaving award Tuesday for his rescue last month of a Willmar man whose vehicle went through the ice.
Anne Polta / Tribune Myron Clark, a 33-year employee of Kandiyohi County Public Works, was honored with a lifesaving award Tuesday for his rescue last month of a Willmar man whose vehicle went through the ice.

WILLMAR - Myron Clark figures he just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Clark, a longtime employee of Kandiyohi County Public Works, was out on Long Lake north of Willmar late in the afternoon of Feb. 12, putting up "thin ice" signs.

Shortly after 5 p.m. he saw a vehicle break through the ice not far away.

"I said, 'I've got to get there right away,'" Clark recalled.

Clark was honored Tuesday for his rescue that afternoon of Gayne Stone, 78. With the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners looking on, he was presented with a lifesaving award from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office.

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Sheriff Dan Hartog credited Clark for his quick thinking and response.

When he saw what was happening, "Myron didn't hesitate to help the driver," Hartog said.

Clark called 911, then headed toward the scene on his ATV. By then, Stone had managed to climb out of the window of his vehicle. But the car was hanging at an angle halfway into the water, and a stretch of open water lay between him and the shore.

"I knew he was OK but I had to get there right now," Clark said.

He found a dead tree near the shore, maneuvered it to the edge of the ice and pushed the length of the trunk out to Stone, who grabbed hold and was pulled to safety.

A couple of minutes later, the vehicle broke all the way through the ice and sank.

Seven vehicles went through the ice this winter on Kandiyohi County lakes, Hartog said.

Stone and his wife, Marvelle, call Clark a hero.

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"The timing was critical. I guess the Holy Spirit was watching out for us," Stone said.

Clark, a Kandiyohi County Public Works employee for 33 years, has long experience of placing "thin ice" signs on county lakes and is familiar with ice conditions.

That experience helped him Feb. 12, he said. "I've been on the ice so many years, I sort of knew what to do."

Good county employees go above and beyond the basics of their job, said Larry Kleindl, county administrator.

"Myron is the type of employee we look for," he said.

"When you have good people, they do the right thing and make quick decisions," said Mel Odens, Public Works director. "There was no hesitation. He just did it."

Related Topics: KANDIYOHI COUNTY
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