2017-08-13 / Front Page

Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Kohler honored for live-saving effort

BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com


Sanilac County Sheriff Garry Biniecki (left) watches as Lapeer County Sheriff Scott McKenna congratulates Dept. Dan Kohler for earning the Michigan Sheriff’s Association’s Life Saving Award. Last November Kohler plunged into frigid waters to save the life of a struggling canoeist in an Arcadia Township lake. 
Photo by Phil Foley Sanilac County Sheriff Garry Biniecki (left) watches as Lapeer County Sheriff Scott McKenna congratulates Dept. Dan Kohler for earning the Michigan Sheriff’s Association’s Life Saving Award. Last November Kohler plunged into frigid waters to save the life of a struggling canoeist in an Arcadia Township lake. Photo by Phil Foley LAPEER — It’s not uncommon for a police diver to go their entire career without ever actually getting to save someone. Usually by the time the dive team gets there, it’s a recovery.

Last fall Deputy Dan Kohler, a 25-year veteran of the department, was in the right place at the right time.

On Thursday, Sanilac County Sheriff Garry Biniecki joined Lapeer County Sheriff Scott McKenna is presenting Dep. Kohler with a Life Saving Award from the Michigan Sheriff’s Association at the Lapeer County Commission meeting. McKenna noted Kohler was also named runner up for the association’s deputy of the year award.

Kohler is credited with saving the life of a man who overturned a canoe in Arcadia Township’s Twin Lake last November.

“I’d like to think,” Kohler said, “anybody on the sheriff’s department, or at least on the dive team, would have been able to do what I did. I just happened to in the right place at the right time.”

McKenna called it a “once in a lifetime” event.

Biniecki, who’s been a dive team member himself for four decades, said he’s never had the opportunity to rescue someone as a diver.

“I’ve carried gear in that car for 41 years,” Biniecki said, “and I’ve used a lot — for recovery, never rescue.”

“This is something to be proud of,” McKenna said. “To truly save someone’s life is above and beyond.”

Kohler was on patrol in Arcadia Township about 4:18 p.m. Nov. 12 when dispatchers told him they’d gotten a call from a St. Clair Shores hunter who reported a man in an overturned canoe about 100 yards from shore on Twin Lake about a half-mile off Kings Mill Road.

When he got to the scene, Kohler found a man clinging to a canoe. Kohler tied several flotation devices together and swam out to the man and the pair were pulled back to shore by waiting Michigan State Police Troopers and DNR Conservation Officers.

The man was taken to McLaren Lapeer Region, where he was treated for shock and hypothermia. Biniecki said the man was treated and released.

“What Deputy Dan Kohler did that day,” Biniecki said, “saved the victims life. Deputy Kohler’s quick actions, preparedness, decision making and his selflessness gave a family more time more time to spend with their loved one.”

Return to top

Copyright © 2009-2017 The County Press, All Rights Reserved

View Brew Fest


Find out more

Click here for the E-Edition
2017-08-13 digital edition

Unrestricted access available to web site subscribers

Subscribers to the County Press newspaper can now purchase the complete online and E-Edition of the paper for as little as $5 for three months. If you want a six month subscription to the online edition it is $10 and a full year can be purchased for $20.

Non-subscribers can sign up for the online version for $15 for three months, $30 for six months and $60 for an annual subscription.