OLIVE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — An Ottawa County deputy was given an award Tuesday for saving a man’s life during the Christmas blizzard.
Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Kempker presented Deputy Joseph Rohloff with a Life Saving Award during the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners meeting.
On Dec. 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 the Christmas blizzard, the roads were bad and response times for ambulances and other first responders were slow, the sheriff said. Rohloff was nearby and quickly got to the scene.
Kempker said the man’s wife had already pulled him from the barn, where explosions were still happening.
Rohloff quickly found a sled and used it to move the man away from the explosions. The man had severe injuries to legs, abdomen and arms, along with burns and other cuts. The deputy applied tourniquets to the man’s legs, which Kempker said ultimately saved his life.
“The trauma surgeons at Spectrum hospital said Carl is here today because of the actions of Deputy Rohloff and (the tourniquets),” Kempker said during the meeting.
The man and his wife, Carl and Ashleigh Beintema, joined the meeting via Zoom. Ashleigh Beintema 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 girls grow up and for us to grow old together,” she said. “Our family is forever thankful for the selfless act that you did for us without thinking twice.”
She said they cannot wait to see Rohloff so that they can thank him in person.
“It’s an honor for us to have employees of Joe’s caliber on our department to represent this agency,” Kempker said.