FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WFRV) The Fond du Lac Sheriff’s office has a few new life-saving tools, thanks to a donation from the widow of a Fond du Lac man who fell through the ice earlier this year.
Deputy Chris Dobyns describes the importance of water and ice rescue kit, “Creepers or cleats go on the boots. Many times deputies are on bare ice. If we’re on ice in windy conditions; we’ll be slipping and sliding across Lake Winnebago.”
Deputy Nick Venne, responded with only instinct and gut, minutes after Peter Zacherl fell through the ice on Lake Winnebago, because rescue kits weren’t available to all deputies.
He says, “having those cleats and those personal flotation devices (PFDs) would have helped” and been a critical element to Peter Zacherl’s rescue. “If I would have had the ice cleats, it would have been easiert to pull him out because we had no traction.”
Sheriff Ryan Waldschmidt is proud of his deputies’ effort saying, “it takes special deputies that night to risk their own safety. They couldn’t wait on shore and wait for safer ways to help. They were compelled to go and try to help.”
Unfortunately, Peter died after being rescued from the ice and now his family has gifted rescue kits with PFDs, ice cleats, and throw ropes, to better prepare all responding deputies, not just those on the dive team.
Jennifer Zacherl feels Peter would be proud of this gift. “He would really like that we did something to help out the officers, so we thank them for their efforts.”
Members of the Zacherl family also presented the Fond du Lac Sheriff’s office with a check for $5,000 dollars.