OLIVE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — An Ottawa County deputy received an award Tuesday for saving a man’s life during the Christmas blizzard.

    Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Kempker presented Deputy Minister Joseph Rohloff with a lifesaving award during the Meeting of the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners.

    On December 23, 2022, a barn exploded around 8:40 p.m. on 52nd Avenue near Jordan Street in Allendale Township. The explosion started a fire and a man was trapped inside. Deputies believe a spark ignited a welding tank, causing the explosion.

    Because of Christmas Blizzard, roads were poor and response times for ambulances and other first responders were slow, the sheriff said. Rohloff was nearby and quickly drove to the scene.

    Kempker said the man’s wife had already pulled him from the barn, where explosions were still occurring.

    Rohloff quickly found a sled and used it to pull the man away from the explosions. The man had serious injuries to his legs, abdomen and arms, as well as burns and other cuts. The deputy applied tourniquets to the man’s legs, which Kempker says ultimately saved his life.

    “Trauma surgeons at Spectrum Hospital said Carl was here today because of the actions of Deputy Rohloff and (the tourniquets),” Kempker said at the meeting.

    On January 24, 2023, Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Kempker presents Deputy Joseph Rohloff with a lifesaving award.
    On January 24, 2023, Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Kempker presents Deputy Joseph Rohloff with a lifesaving award.

    The man and his wife, Carl and Ashleigh Beintema, joined the meeting via Zoom. Ashleigh Beintema has thanked Rohloff for saving her husband’s life.

    “You are the one who allowed my husband to continue to be in our future. To see his daughters grow and for us to grow old together,” she said. “Our family is forever grateful for the selfless act you have done for us without thinking twice.”

    She said they were looking forward to seeing Rohloff so they could thank him in person.

    “We are honored to have employees of Joe’s caliber in our department to represent this agency,” Kempker said.



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