Winnetka, News

Winnetka honors first responders who rescued two from Lake Michigan   

Two Winnetka police officers and one fire medic were presented the Life Saving Award on June 7 during a Village Council meeting.

According to an account from Police Chief Marc Hornstein, in March, officers Daniel Timmers and Logan Jernigan responded to a report of two people struggling in Lake Michigan. Timmers saved the first person by reaching out from the dock while Jernigan held Timmers’ legs to help pull the individual to safety. The second person reportedly was further out and losing consciousness, so the two officers jumped in the freezing waters to keep the person afloat. Fire medic Katlyn Schmidly arrived, also jumping in the freezing water, with a floatation device to help the unconscious person to safety. 

“The village of Winnetka is such a wonderful, beautiful and peaceful community,” Hornstein said during the June 7 presentation. “That being said there are still occasions where our first responders, fire personnel, and police personnel are asked to do things where they put their own safety and their own lives for that matter in jeopardy and go above and beyond the call of duty.” 

Hornstein noted that while Timmers and Jernigan’s initial response was crucial, Schmidly’s floatation device helped get the second person to safety, and kept both officers safe as well. 

“If she had not been in there, it could have been bad for not just the citizen that was in there but for my two officers,” Hornstein said. 

This award is not given out often, Hornstein said in a followup call, adding that the three first responders demonstrated “exceptional courage and selflessness” during the emergency response.

The save occurred on an early March morning. It was dark, cold, and difficult to see. The water was near freezing temperatures putting anyone in the water at great risk. 

“We’re really proud of all three of them and we think this is really representative of the type of public safety personnel in the Village of Winnetka,” he said.  

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Kate Linderman

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