PLEASANT HILL, Iowa — Tuesday a man, Damian Bell, from Pleasant Hill will receive the Carnegie Medal, a nationally recognized award, for helping save a man from an icy lake in Feb. 2016.
The incident happened when Damian and his son Konnor Bell were ice fishing on Lake Ahquabi with their friends Jesse and Ethan Bannor, when Konnor said he heard someone calling for help.
Rick Rauzi had fallen into the lake while taking pictures of the geese on the ice.
So Bell and Bannor left their sons with a phone and went to search for Rauzi.
Once they figured out where he was they found a locked cage full of canoes and got one out to help Rick.
“It wasn’t even a thought process, there wasn’t much thought to it. It was more of a reactionary thing with just, you knew something was going wrong and you knew you had to do something,” Bell said.
More than a year after helping to save Rauzi’s life, Bell said he is humbled, but also overwhelmed because he is not the only one who helped save a life that day and wants all the other helpers to have some recognition too.
“If my son wouldn’t have heard him, nothing would have happened. If my friend Jesse wasn’t there we wouldn’t have gotten the canoe out. If the police officer wasn’t there I wouldn’t have had a rope. If the Indianola Fire Department didn’t have a rescue boat that was designed to go through the ice they would have never made it out to us either,” Bell said.
He said that going through that life changing moment last year has strengthened his relationship with the Bannors, created a new relationship with Rauzi, and inspired him and his family to take a step back from their busy lives.
“We’re just focusing on family time. Both my wife and I, we have our careers and family is important to us, but just finding time to have the long weekends or the sleep in days and not focused so much on run, run, run all the time,” Bell said.
Bell will receive the award at 6:30 p.m. from Mayor Mayor Sara Kurovski during the Pleasant Hill City Council meeting.
Mayor Kurovski said it is an honor to present him with the award.
“Damian and Konnor are true heroes for saving the life of Richard G. Rauzi. Their quick response and reactions helped ensure the outcome was a positive one. We are truly lucky to have them as residents in Pleasant Hill,” Kurovski said.