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Matt Dretsch, from left, Dean Haverkamp and Jeff Watland were honored with the county's Life Saver Award due to their help in saving a co-worker's life. The men all work at the Becker County Transfer Station. DL NEWSPAPERS/Brian Basham

Three county employees named Life Savers

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News Detroit Lakes,Minnesota 56501
Detroit Lakes Online
Three county employees named Life Savers
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Tuesday morning, three men were recognized for helping save their co-worker’s life, but they say it’s nothing that anyone else wouldn’t have done.


Jeff Watland, Matt Dretsch and Dean Haverkamp were given the Becker County Life Saver Award and presented with certificates at the Tuesday county board meeting.

“I was surprised to get an award for what anyone could do,” Haverkamp said.

On May 5, the three men were at work at the Becker County Transfer Station when Watland heard his co-worker call his name. He said he saw his co-worker get out of a piece of equipment with his knees buckling and already dropping to the ground.

The men, who all work in the same area, rushed to his aid and called 9-1-1.

“On arrival at the site entrance, we received direction to the patient from an employee, and the patient was attended by several other co-workers at his side,” the nomination letter from St. Mary’s EMS workers said.

The nomination letter signed by Keitha Sixberry and Josie Johnson said the three men should be awarded for their quick response and physical assistance they provided to both the patient and the EMS crew.

“We feel very strongly, and have expressed to our patient, that the outcome could have been greatly different that day were it not for the assistance of his co-workers,” the letter said.

Haverkamp said he called and told the man’s family what had happened, and later they let him know that the man had been transported to a Fargo hospital.

Watland said that he was very surprised the next day to hear his co-worker’s voice on the telephone given his condition the day before.

The men declined to name their co-worker but said that he’s still out due to heart issues.

While appreciative of the award, all three men shied away from making a big deal over what they did for a fellow co-worker. Most disagree though.

“We truly believe the gift of life that (the patient) was given that day started with the caring response of these gentlemen,” Sixberry and Johnson wrote.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.