Gerold Prather

A 16-year-old boy struggled to swim in Lake Michigan during a May 15, 2022, outing with his cousin and two friends at a beach off of Sawyer, Michigan. The boy and his friends were at least 100 feet out into the lake, when they started calling for help. The friends had submerged. In another party at the beach, Gerold Prather, a 22-year-old robotic welder from Kalamazoo, Michigan, heard calls for help, entered the lake, and swam to the boy. Reaching him, they submerged and resurfaced. With difficulty, Prather first pushed the boy toward the beach and then positioned him on his back and towed him to a point about 50 feet from shore where, tiring, Prather shouted for help. Another man waded into the lake and helped Prather and the boy get to the beach. First responders took the boy to the hospital. Firefighters later recovered the bodies of the boy’s friends, who had drowned.