Boy buried in sand reunites with rescuers - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Boy buried in sand reunites with rescuers

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About a month and a half after a miraculous rescue came the emotional reunion.

On July 12th, six-year-old Nathan Woessner was trapped under eleven feet of sand for over three hours at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Police officers, firefighters, business owners and even other vacationing families participated in an effort to rescue the boy. Wednesday, Governor Mike Pence was in Michigan City for a ceremony to honor all those who helped save Nathan.

"Today, let me say, on behalf of all the people of Indiana, I have come to say thanks to all who made the miracle on Mount Baldy happen," says Pence.

Governor Pence awarded a certificate of bravery to ALL members of the rescue crew--officials and volunteers--calling them Hoosier Heroes.

The Woessner family attended the ceremony, thanking each person who played a part in their son's rescue. 139 people received a standing ovation Wednesday for their part in rescuing Nathan.

"I could work the rest of my life in this line of work and never come across something as amazing as this. It's definitely something I'm going to hold on to," says Brian Menke, LaPorte County Sheriff Reserve.

All played their own role in this happy ending. "At one point I was on my hands and knees digging. I was also with shovels and I was with a great group of guys out there," says Timothy Redtke, a Long Beach Police Reserve.

"I was one of the ones down in the hole with the shovel, we used our hands at times," says Menke.

On July 12, Woessner disappeared at the popular Mount Baldy dune and both Redtke and Menke helped search for hours. "I don't think in this profession you need to lose hope on anything because there's miracles that happen everyday and this was one of them," says Redtke.

After such a long time buried, Redtke says he wasn't sure what they would find. "My emotions did a 180. It went from sad because witnessing something like that is hard, but once you find out the good news, it makes everything worth while."

Many said seeing Woessner and his family was emotional, knowing they played a part in saving his life. "They just thanked us, thanked myself for the work and the mother gave me a hug which was nice because I can only imagine having children and what that feels like having to go through," says Redtke.       

"I seen him run outside when they first got here and we were standing outside and honestly that's better than any award that could ever be given," says Menke.   

Nathan Woessner has made a full recovery, he even started first grade last week.

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