Governor says pair who saved woman are heroes


Gov. Mike Rounds has commended two summer interns with the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks for rescuing a woman whose car was on fire near Bristol on Aug. 25.

Trevor Barthel of Watertown and Nick Markl of Windom, Minn., followed smoke from the fire and found a woman disoriented and dangerously close to a burning vehicle that had run into a cornfield. The pair pulled her to safety and called authorities. Then, they put her on an ATV and took her to a main road to meet an ambulance. The woman, 83, had singed hair, but she suffered no significant injuries.

Gov. Rounds recently sent letters of commendation to Barthel and Markl.

“You may think your reaction to the situation was natural and that you were only doing your duty as a decent human being. That belief in itself identifies you as a hero,” the Governor wrote. “You did not hesitate or second guess. You did not consider possible personal danger, and you did not think about the burden of this obligation. Instead, your immediate instinct allowed you to intervene in this tragic situation.”

The GFP interns, who are back in class and majoring in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at South Dakota State University, truly are heroes, agreed Day County Sheriff Barry G. Hillestad.

“The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department should be proud to have individuals such as this in their employ,” Sheriff Hillestad said. “In my professional opinion, these two young men are responsible for saving an elderly woman’s life.”