DuPage Forest Preserve District police officer Lou Addante and dispatcher Kathy Pondelicek were honored by the district's board of commissioners for their parts in the March 12 rescue of a preserve visitor who went through the ice on a pond at East Branch Forest Preserve in Glendale Heights.
A woman called 911 to report that her dog was in the water in a partially frozen pond near the forest preserve's off-leash dog area. The call was routed to Pondelicek, who tried to keep the woman calm while coordinating a response.
When the call was disconnected, Pondelicek requested the phone's location data to guide Addante to the area.
Addante arrived in minutes and found the woman had fallen through the ice while attempting to reach the dog. He tossed her a rope, pulled her from the water, and transported the woman and the dog to the parking lot, where a fire department ambulance was waiting.
"These two employees have more than 35 years of combined service to the agency, and we commend them for using their training and experience to prevent a tragedy," forest preserve President D. "Dewey" Pierotti Jr. said.
The district's office of law enforcement trains for emergency situations that may arise in forest preserves and carries equipment, such as personal flotation devices, that other agencies may not.
"As an agency, we're fortunate that these types of emergencies don't happen often," said Phil Gunnell, the district's deputy chief. "But our visitors should feel confident that when they do, our staff has the knowledge and resources to protect them throughout 25,000 acres of forest preserve land."