Firefighters recall ‘Mt. Baldy Miracle,’ establish fund for family
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent July 15, 2013 3:00PM
Four of the firefighters involved with Friday’s rescue of Nathan Woessner have worked with the non-profit Unity Foundation of LaPorte County to set up a fund to assist Nathan’s family.
A link to “The Mt. Baldy Miracle Fund” can be found on the foundation’s website, www.uflc.net; donations are tax deductible. Donations also can be mailed to the Unity Fund of LaPorte County, P.O. Box 527, Michigan City, IN 46361.
For more information, call 879-0327.
Updated: August 17, 2013 6:30AM
Little Nathan Woessner’s survival after 3½ hours buried in the sand of Mt. Baldy is nothing short of miraculous.
Pulled from the sand by rescuers Friday evening after he fell in a sinkhole, Nathan, 6, of Sterling, Ill., is recovering at a Chicago hospital.
“I’ve been saying this since Friday night,” Ronnie Martin, chief of the Michigan City Fire Department, said Monday, “We do all we can to give the child the best opportunity for life, but it’s up to God.”
He went through the paces of Friday’s dramatic rescue, which included 12 of his department’s firefighters, three excavators, and an assortment of other folks who pitched in to pull Nathan, who was on a family vacation at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, from the sand, where he was in a hole 11 feet deep.
Excavators pulled away the sand that first responders dug out of the hole.
“They had to be very ginger with moving the sand,” Martin said, adding a probe helped rescuers determine where Nathan was as they dug.
Once Nathan was out of the hole, he began to show signs of life in an emotional surprise for his rescuers.
Martin said he has not seen anything of this magnitude before.
“In the 26 years I’ve been here — absolutely not,” he said. “The reason I say that is because of what it took to get the child out and the outcome.”
Martin had a Monday morning meeting with the firefighters who were on duty Friday when Nathan was rescued. The effort, he said, included 30-year veterans of his department as well as rookies.
“It was just awesome, and one of the things that came out of the meeting is how proud we are of our community and all the rescuers,” he said.