By Carol Mowdy Bond
Yukon Public School Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth and his wife Julie, financial services for the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, and children Dawson and Summer, saved two lives on Lake El Reno, Thursday afternoon, June 11.
Julie said, “The four of us were trying to work on this old boat Jason and Dawson have. We were trying to get it running again. They got it running at home, so we took it out to the lake, and it ran for about three minutes.”
When the boat stopped running, Dr. Simeroth and Dawson were working on it when it caught fire.
Julie said, “My daughter noticed, in the middle of the lake, two kids on float rafts. The wind blew them out into the middle of the lake. The wind picked up their float rafts, and flipped them over, and they went airborne, and were not wearing life jackets. The girl was screaming ‘Help! I’m drowning.’ My daughter Summer grabbed a woman’s float raft and she headed out. She reached the kids first, and she was helping them hold onto her float raft. We had four life jackets in the boat, and I told Jason and Dawson to put two jackets on and take two to the kids, which they did. I called 911.”
While Julie was standing and talking to the 911 dispatcher, the rest of the Simeroth family reached the teens and they were helping them stay afloat. Julie said El Reno Fire and Rescue had a boat in the water very quickly, and were rapidly on the scene to help. The rescue boat has a shelf on the back, that’s in the water.
And Julie said, “You sit on the shelf while they motor you to shore. Paramedics arrived and were waiting when they got to shore. They checked out both teens, who were 13 and 15 years old, and they were fine. But the girl did not know how to swim.”
As the scene unfolded, Julie said there were young children on shore who were watching.
She said their eyes were huge. Julie used that as a teachable moment, and talked to them about what can seem fun at first, but can quickly turn into a bad situation. She talked to them about wearing life jackets, and not getting too far from shore.
Julie said, “I would like to stress that people need to be smart on the lake this summer and wear life jackets.”