Sometimes heroes don’t wear uniforms


(Andrea Melendez/The Register)

Sometimes heroes appear from out of nowhere.

On Tuesday a man and his wife were boating on the Des Moines river when their craft began to act erratically. They threw out an anchor, but it didn’t hold. Just before they plunged over the Center Street Dam, Alan Neely told his wife to put on her life jacket. It was the last thing he ever said.

Their boat plunged over the dam and sank, throwing the pair into the boiling river. The turbulent current ripped off Alan’s life jacket and pulled him under. His body was recovered downstream.

His wife Patricia, buoyed by her own life preserver, stayed afloat but was trapped by the undertow and repeatedly pulled back toward the dam and into the boil. Rescue crews couldn’t get to her. Ropes dangled from the bridge over the dam wouldn’t reach.

That’s when the construction crew from Cramer & Associates jumped into action. One of the men, Jason Oglesbee, was wearing a harness. The crew hooked him onto a large crane they were using to construct a pedestrian bridge, and he was swung out over the water – directly over Patricia. The crane operator, Joe Lowe, told KCCI (a local TV station), “Well, I didn’t want to get Jason under the water, but I knew I had to get his feet in it.”


She had been in the water for about half an hour when Oglesbee appeared from up above. “I just told her to hang on tight. I won’t let go,” Oglesbee recalled. (DesMoines Register)

He dragged her to the small rescue boat (it was too small to approach the dangerous area where Patricia was trapped), and she was sped to shore. She is expected to fully recover.

And what did Jason Oglesbee do? After being hoisted back to the levy, he went back to work.

“The whole crew did it. Wasn’t me. The whole crew,” Oglesbee told KCCI news.

He doesn’t wear a uniform, but he could. Jason Oglesbee and the whole crew of Cramer and Associates are our heroes of the week.

For complete coverage including videos of the dramatic rescue, click on the websites of KCCI TV or the Des Moines Register.


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