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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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A Christmas gift not to be forgotten

Karen and Dean Hurliman, members of Faith Lutheran Church, Burlington, Iowa, were on their favorite hike around Gladstone Lake in Henderson County, Ill., when they heard someone yelling for help on Christmas Day.

A woman pleaded with them to "Call 911, he's drowning," reported Wayne Weissenbuehler, pastor of Faith, where Karen Hurliman serves as church secretary.

Dean Hurliman called 911 while his wife looked for something to help pull out a man who had fallen through the ice. She used an 8-foot piece of pine and lots of encouragement to both the man, who was submerged to his neck, and the man's wife, who was also soaking wet.

Karen Hurliman was able to lie face down on the ice, crawl across it and reach the man with the stick, with the man's wife holding her feet. When the man told Karen Hurliman he could no longer hang on, she said to him, "You are going to have to." The stick broke, but she scrambled back on the ice with the shortened stick.

By time the paramedics arrived, Karen Hurliman and the man's wife had pulled him to shore. The paramedics said the man would not have survived had he been in the ice cold water five minutes longer.


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