By Rachel Kytonen
Four individuals were honored for saving the lives of three children.
During the Isanti County Law Enforcement Association banquet Jan. 20, a special presentation was held to honor those for saving the lives of three young children.
On Aug. 7, 2011, Christin Birkholz was killed in a car accident at Co. Rds. 9 and 45 in Isanti County. Passerby’s pulled her three children from the car that was submerged in a swamp and saved their lives.
James Cathers, Joseph Murray, Warren Eichner and Lori Benson were presented lifesaving awards by Isanti County Sheriff Russ Monson for saving the lives of Mason, Logan and Bailey Birkholz.
Michael Murray, the father of Joseph Murray, has lived in Isanti for 14 years. He attend the banquet with his son Joseph, his wife and his wife’s grandparents. He said he was very impressed with the banquet and wanted to extend an appreciation to all those involved with the planning of the banquet.
He also wanted to extend a deep appreciation to Sheriff Monson and Isanti County Commissioner George Larson.
Murray explained soon after the Aug. 7 accident, he and Joseph ran into Sheriff Monson at the Isanti County Government Center. He said Sheriff Monson told his son he had a “heart of gold and courage of a hero,” and gave him his personal card, and told him to call if he needed anything.
Murray also mentioned throughout the evening of the banquet, Commissioner George Larson went up to his son at least three times to thank him for his heroic acts on Aug. 7.
“All of those who pulled the children from the car that day are heroes,” Murray said. “I just want to personally recognize Sheriff Monson and Commissioner Larson for honoring my son and all the folks who helped that day.”
Law enforcement honors employees
On Jan. 20, the Isanti County Law Enforcement Association held its annual banquet at the Cambridge Legion to recognize those with exceptional service this past year.
The following awards were given:
Officer Of The Year: Deputy Jonathan VanderVegt.
Employee Of The Year: Kari Ohman-Probation.
Honorable Mention: Stacy St. George-Assistant County Attorney.
Distinguished Service: Sgt. Chris Caulk and Investigator Wayne Seiberlich.
Meritorious Service: Deputies John McCarty, Chad Meyer and Doug Barron and Cambridge Police Officer Chad Saelens.
Honorable Mentions: Investigator Rob Bowker, Officer Adam Gau, Officer Dan Vandenhuevel.
Lifesaving Awards: Deputy Sean Hartneck, Deputy Chad Meyer, Officer Adam Gau, Dispatcher Robert Dowd, Jr.