Glen Rose graduate helps save 2 lives

Jonathan Lackey, a 2011 Glen Rose High School graduate, shows medals and certificates he received from the U.S. Coast Guard for his efforts that help save two men.
By: 
Alexis Burch
Staff Writer

After an hour of floating in cold waters, two men whose boat had capsized were rescued because of efforts made by a 2011 Glen Rose graduate.

Jonathan Lackey, Operations Specialist Third Class for the U.S. Coast Guard, left for bootcamp at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May, New Jersey on Jan. 3, 2012. Afterward, he went to school in northern California to become an operations specialist.

He is currently stationed in northern Michigan at Sector Sault Sainte Marie Command Center, where he monitors the Great Lakes and listens to transmissions through the Channel 16 VHF.
However, Sept. 3 he received an inaudible transmission through the channel.

The SCC trained him to pay attention to broken transmissions that come through the channel, even if they sound like nothing. Other people in the command center thought nothing of the transmission, but Lackey decided to pull the transmission and put it through Rescue 21, a system that can clear up a broken transmission.

A small sailing vessel with two men on board capsized. They had a handheld radio with them, just powerful enough to get a radio signal to ask for help.

Lackey determined from the adjacent lines of bearings from radio towers that the men were near Beaver Island on Lake Michigan.

“I’ve always been one to take a little more time and investigate each broadcast or transmission,” Lackey said. “As soon as I heard (the distress call) I got down to business.”
In the control center, the Coast Guard is responsible for planning the rescue mission, contacting locals and launching rescue teams.

The SCC launched their helicopter and small boats and the local sheriff's department was notified.

Soon, Emergency Medical Services and locals were also searching for the two men.

The sheriff’s department had a boat in the area and were first on the scene. The men were found in the cold water wearing lifejackets and both suffering from hypothermia.
One man was taken to a clinic on Beaver Island. The other suffered more severely and was taken to the nearest hospital. By the next day, both men had fully recovered.

“If the helicopter and sheriff’s department weren't able to respond as fast as they did the two gentlemen wouldn’t be here today.”I’m just glad for the response time," Lackey added.
The commandant of the Coast Guard awarded Lackey with the Coast Guard Achievement Medal for his superior performance of duty.

Lackey hopes that individuals take the proper precautions before setting sail and said that life jackets are useless sitting in a compartment, anyone on the water needs to wear one, and take any type of radio that has Channel 16 VHF.

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