Boys lauded as heroes for saving dog

Silver Lake Fire Chief Joe Tims congratulates Philip Smith and Malachi Baier whose efforts led to the rescue of Don and Mindy Conning’s dog, Dekka, after he fell through the ice on Laurel Lake. PHOTO COURTESY DONZZILLA DON MILLER



Two Choconut Valley Elementary third graders who ran for help when they saw a dog fall an ice-covered lake were honored Monday by the Silver Lake Volunteer Fire Company as Honorary Fire Fighters.

The boys, Philip Smith and Malachi Baier, were outside playing on Monday, April 2, and they saw the dog fall through the ice on Laurel Lake. The dog was yelping loudly and the boys immediately ran for their parents to help and to call 911.

Stacy Roberts, Philip’s mom, and Jonathan Baier, Malachi’s father, called emergency services, and the boys helped locate the imperiled dog in the lake.

The dog, Dekka, belongs to Don and Mindy Conning at Laurel Lake. “Dekka does not usually go far from home but that day he did,” Mindy Conning said.  Ludwig Ho, a friend of the Connings, and Phil Smith, who is Philip’s father, got kayaks to paddle to Dekka’s rescue; Brad Brand and Tom Finch of the Silver Lake Volunteer Fire Company also arrived on the scene to offer help.

Ho managed to get Dekka into his kayak and bring the dog safely back to shore.

Silver Lake Fire Chief Joe Tims presented the boys with Honorary Fire Fighter certificates. “We are very proud of the boys for using valuable lessons that they have learned from their parents and the good teachers at Choconut Elementary School: if you see something, say something and tell an adult,” he said, as the members present gave them a round of applause.

First responder Peg Miller said, “The boys are awesome and they are an inspiration. And as a first responder, I think that they embody the spirit of all first responders. They acted quickly and selflessly.”

At the Montrose Area School Board meeting Monday evening, Choconut Valley Elementary Principal Chris McComb lauded to the boys’ efforts. “We’re very proud of both of them,” he said.

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