A Muskegon County man said thank you Wednesday to the firefighters who came to his rescue. The man, his daughter and granddaughter were stranded on their boat for more than three hours last week before two Norton Shores firefighters helped them.
Tom Peters says he tried flagging down at least five boats last week after his boat broke down on Mona Lake, but not one boat came to help them. After the firefighters towed them in, he came back to say thanks.
"We went out and took my granddaughter and oldest daughter out for just a cruse and we made it all the way across the lake to the beach area and then the boat just stopped," Peters said.
He tried to flag down nearby boats for the next several hours with no luck.
"I probably could've jumped off the boat and they still wouldn't care," Peters said. "It's just sad these days. I've been a boater for years and if someone's sitting there a long enough time you should probably check on them and see if they're alright. What's it take? A few minutes?"
Luckily, two Coast Guard members on kayaks came over to them. They then called the Norton Shores Fire Department because Tom's daughter was having an anxiety attack and his granddaughter started to feel sick.
"It's awesome to know that our work was appreciated and we were recognized and like I said, there were some other people that were involved, the Coast Guard and the citizens around that helped out when they were needed and it's nice," said Norton Shores Firefighter Mark Konecny. "It's good to be recognized and know that the work we're doing is appreciated."
Konecny and fellow Norton Shores Firefighter Jeremy Greene towed the family to safety. All of them are okay. On Wednesday, Tom, a former sheriff's deputy himself, returned the favor. He presented them with a life rescue ring as a way to thank them for their help.
"We got a brand new [life ring] now and it certainly looks good and we won't be afraid to use it," Konecny said. "It's appreciated very much and thank you and I'm glad everything worked out for you."
The Norton Shores Fire Department recommends not going out on a boat without a cellphone or mobile marine radio. They also recommend having flags to demonstrate if you're in distress.