Facilities Management employees Nathan Rusch and Lyle Uitenbroek were joined on stage by student worker Samantha Braaten at the University Union’s Phoenix Room during the annual faculty-staff Convocation on Aug. 26.
The three were invited forward by UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller to receive certificates of appreciation for their response to a potentially life-threatening accident earlier this month. They also received a standing ovation.
Braaten and a fourth staff member were on routine duty Aug. 18, clearing storm debris from one of the Arboretum trails. A good-sized tree had fallen, blocking the path and creating a hazard.
The tree shifted, pinning Braaten’s partner. It stretched across his neck and upper body, making it difficult for him to breathe. Braaten reacted immediately and, summoning her strength and using branches as levers, she managed to keep the full weight off of the victim. She also dialed for help.
Rusch and Uitenbroek were first to arrive. They found a chain saw and began cutting away sections while continuing to protect their pinned colleage.
By the time Public Safety and Green Bay Fire and Rescue arrived, the victim had been freed and was breathing normally, although experiencing pain. He was transported and released later that day.
The certificates read:
“In appreciation and recognition of heroic actions and outstanding performance on August 18th, 2015”… awarded this day… signed, Gary L. Miller, Chancellor.