Russell R. Kauffman died attempting to save William D. Lewis and his wife Wendy N. from drowning, Presque Isle, Michigan, April 7, 1964. When Lewis, 32, meteorological technician and his wife, 27, went to the aid of their six-year-old son who had broken through ice on Grand Lake 600 feet from shore, they fell into water 12 feet deep and were unable to climb out because the ice broke off at each attempt. The boy was drawn onto the ice by a ladder and walked to shore where his grandfather, after attempting to give aid, had called volunteer firemen. Kauffman, 52, township supervisor, a non-swimmer, was the first to arrive. Although he could not see Lewis and his wife because of fog, he was guided by their voices as he walked toward them on the ice, carrying a ladder. Twenty-five feet from them, Kauffman broke through. The ladder sank, but Kauffman held to the ice. Two other firemen arrived and pushed a boat to within 15 feet of Lewis and his wife, where the ice buckled beneath the craft. The men got into the boat, pushed a ladder to Lewis and his wife, and by it drew them out of the water. With all aboard the boat, which broke through the ice, they then observed the hole 25 feet away. Kauffman was no longer in sight and did not answer their calls. By pulling on the rope, others drew the boat to shore. The body of Kauffman later was recovered.
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