Buried Boy’s Family Thanks Michigan City

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July 17, 2013 — As a six-year-old boy recovers from being buried in a Lake Michigan sand dune for about three hours, Michigan City reflects on its role in recovering the boy from Mount Baldy.

Emergency response crews became the subject of national attention when Nathan Woessner became trapped under sand Friday evening, recovering in critical but stable condition at Comers Children’s Hospital in Chicago. Michigan City’s mayor says the boy’s parents are reaching out to the city to express their gratitude, and they’re not alone. 

While Nathan Woessner could be in attendance for the first day of school next month, that possibility is being called a miracle by some after he was trapped under 11-feet of sand at Mount Baldy in Michigan City.  Tuesday the boy’s family contacted Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer.

Meer says, “I spoke with Mr. Woessner, the father of Nathan, and he had given me an update on his condition, and his gratitude to the city of Michigan City, all of our departments, and their professionalism. One of the things he expressed to me was that this wasn’t just an incident that happened to his family, it happened to this community, and this community stepped up.”

The mayor says numerous beach-goers stepped in to offer food and water to the rescuers, and nearly every city department with digging equipment or shovels raced to the scene.  Meer says the effort was truly impressive, and Indiana’s Governor agreed, “Governor Mike Pence contacted me and we had about a fifteen minute conversation. He was very complimentary to all these various branches of government, all our departments, basically just saying we made the city of Michigan City and all Hoosiers in the state of Indiana proud.”

Meer says the community remains interested in the boy’s recovery. Inquires about donations lead some of the rescuers to the Unity Foundation of LaPorte County, a group which facilitates donations.

Sandy Gleim with the Unity Foundation says, ” group of Michigan City firefighters came to the Unity Foundation office, and they were looking to partner to open a fund to benefit the family, because due to the emergency there are going to be unexpected medical and other costs.”

Gleim says the Foundation accepts online credit card donations through their website, uflc.net, “People can give any amount, and if they’re not comfortable with a credit card online donation, Unity Foundation our P.O. box is 527, Michigan City, 46361. So people could mail checks if they wanted to. We’re just here as that repository to help out the firefighters and their desire to further support this family. They became very engaged with them during the rescue.”

The mayor says once Nathan has fully recovered the family would like to plan a reunion between the boy and the men and women who pulled him to safety. Meer says, “I told him we were there for them, which we are, and I couldn’t be prouder, as a leader of a community, of how everyone performed in this extreme situation.”

Mount Baldy is one of the most popular attractions at the National Lakeshore, and the National Park Service says it will remain closed indefinitely as state and federal officials investigate how and why the hole formed.

Reported by Sarah Holst

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