St. Louis Co. Honors Team Who Saved 6-Year-Old Boy from Gilbert Lake

Ryan Juntti
Updated: April 17, 2019 01:57 PM

The team of people who helped save a 6-year-old boy from a lake in Gilbert this past summer were honored on Tuesday for their services.

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911 Lifesaver Awards were presented by St. Louis County Sheriff Ross Litman to people who have helped with lifesaving efforts across St. Louis County over the past year.

The people honored were citizens, law enforcement, other first responders, and 911 dispatchers. They were being recognized for their roles in three separate incidents across the county, including in Caleb Simmonsen's case.

Caleb nearly drowned in Lake Ore-Be-Gone this past July. 

"I was feeling the water in my brain," Caleb said when describing the moment he nearly drowned. "I thought nobody was going to rescue me," he said when asked if he thought he would be rescued.

Thankfully he was, and on Tuesday, he handed out the awards to the team of people who helped save his life.

"Thank you," Caleb said when asked what he wanted to tell the people who rescued him. 

"I'm just thankful that we had Jennifer, and Bill, and EMT's, paramedics, police officers there on the scene to react so quickly," said Caleb's father Brett Simmonsen.

Brett Simmonsen says he heard over the police scanner that something was happening at Lake Ore-Be-Gone with a 6-year-old boy. He says his heart sank when he heard that was happening, but that he didn't know at the time it was his son until he was told by police. Caleb was lifeflighted to Duluth, but luckily he survived.

The people who saved Caleb weren't the only ones honored on Tuesday.

"I'm really just happy we were able to get everybody out safely," said Hermantown man Mick Aspin.

Aspin's dog Dolly, and an off duty sheriff's deputy were recognized for saving an elderly couple from a house fire. Aspin says Dolly alerted him to the fire.

"If it hadn't been for her, I don't know how much more time there would have been inside. It was pretty bad," said Aspin.

911 dispatcher Carmen Kimball and Paul Ochs of Grand Lake Township were also awarded for their efforts to temporarily save the man's wife. Ochs' wife died the next day, but it gave her family enough time to say final goodbyes. Additionally, her organs were able to be donated, saving the lives of others.

This is Kimball's third time being honored for her ability to provide CPR instructions to people who have called 911.


Ryan Juntti

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