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Members of the Blackduck Fire Department accepting awards from Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp for their quick response to the boating accident on Blackduck Lake are, from left to right: Blackduck Fire Chief Rick Bogart, Brian Larsen, Jon Ross, Daryl Lundberg, Joby Looker, Andy Thienes, Don Jones, Festus Rockensock, Joe Cheney, Terry Frenzel and Sheriff Hodapp.

Rescue volunteers honored

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Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Area rescue volunteers came together Aug. 10 to accept certificates of commendations for their efforts in assisting with the boating accident that occurred on Blackduck Lake July 14.

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Those honored with certificates were members of the Blackduck Fire Department, the Lakes Area dive team, the sheriff's posse, ham radio club as well as Monte Sharbono from White Birch Resort. Sharbono was the first one on the scene following the accident.

Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp was on hand to present everyone involved with the search and rescue with awards.

"These kinds of tragic events are really tough on everybody in the community," Hodapp said. "Luckily we had several gracious and helpful volunteers."

The first award was given to Sharbono for his thoughtful actions and for saving the lives of two of the boating accident victims.

"Monte was one of the first people to respond to the accident," Hodapp said. "He was able to rescue two of the boaters and get them to shore safely."

The sheriff noted that Sharbono assisted in the search for the other two boaters the night of the accident as well as the next day. He was also commended for opening the doors of his resort to provide a place for the dive team to stay.

"He is an exceptional citizen and host for a situation like this," said Hodapp.

Brandon Schmickle and Greg Moen were present to represent the Lakes Area dive team.

"We had quite a crew here from the team," Hodapp said. "Their efforts were very impressive to the victim's families as well as to everyone else involved in the search."

Hodapp acknowledged that the dive team was able to recover the two bodies very quickly despite high winds and murky water.

"We had tremendous support from the resort owners and from people who were lined up to carry our gear for us," Moen said. "Everything was ready for us to go when we hit the water and we can't thank everyone enough for that. We greatly appreciate it."

"For us at the sheriff's office, one of the premier groups of volunteers is the Blackduck Fire Department," Hodapp said. "We know we can always count on this group to come out and help us out whenever we need them."

Hodapp was extremely grateful and proud of the Blackduck Fire Department for their efforts and couldn't thank them enough for everything they did during the boating accident and for what they do overall.

"Our fire department has had a history in Blackduck since 1901 and we've always been able to count on them," said Blackduck Mayor Scott Palmer.

Members of the sheriff's posse and Paul Bunyan Amateur Radio Club were also given certificates for their contributions during the search and recovery.

Mayor Palmer ended the ceremony with powerful words of gratitude, "As the mayor of Blackduck, I would like to thank all the emergency services that came together for doing such a fine job for us on that tragic day."

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