Ramapo Honors 3 Men Who Saved Boy in Lake

By Reuvain Borchardt

L-R: Ramapo Town Supervisor Michael Specht, Police Chief Martin Reilly, Chaverim Coordinator Yossi Margaretten (accepting the award on behalf of Chaveirim member Shloime Spira), Moshe Schuster of Hatzoloh, Satmar bus driver Usher Wieder, Police Captain Danny Heiman.

A yeshiva bus driver, a Hatzoloh member and a Chaveirim member who saved a young boy who had fallen into a lake were presented with plaques by the Town of Ramapo on Wednesday in commemoration of their life-saving actions.

On Monday afternoon, Usher Wieder was just finishing up his route as bus driver for Satmar Yeshiva, when he passed Lake Suzanne and saw a young boy walking out of the lake. He stopped the bus and ran to investigate.

This boy and his friend had tried walking across the frozen lake, but the ice had cracked and they had fallen into the frigid water. This boy managed to get up onto the ice and walk out, but the friend was still struggling in the water, 50 to 75 feet from shore by Wieder’s estimation.

Wieder told a bystander to call Hatzoloh and watch his bus, and proceeded to walk onto the ice and then jump into the water, grabbing the struggling 9-year-old.

Wieder began bringing the boy toward shore, but was having difficulty holding onto him in the icy water while maintaining his footing in the muddy lake bottom. Hatzoloh volunteer Moshe Shuster and Chaveirim volunteer Shloime Spira quickly arrived and entered the water. Using ropes and an extendable ladder and with the assistance of more volunteers on shore, the three brought the boy to safety.

The boy was treated by Hatzoloh and hospitalized, but was quickly discharged.

In a statement, Westchester Medical Center noted that the boy had been in the water “for 5-6 minutes,” and that Hatzoloh had provided crucial care immediately after he was brought out of the icy water.

“Hatzoloh did a great job removing wet clothing, starting an IV and giving warmed saline and covering patient with warm blankets and hot packs,” the hospital said. “They saved his life.”

On Wednesday, the three men were presented with plaques in Ramapo Town Hall. (Spira was out of town, so Chaveirim Coordinator Yossi Margaretten accepted the plaque on his behalf.)

The boy’s father (who asked to remain anonymous) praised his son’s rescuers, in a conversation with Hamodia on Thursday. “The fact that Usher Wieder just saw a boy leaving the water, but he suspected something might be wrong and he stopped the bus to see what was going on, shows how special he is.”

“And the Hatzoloh and Chaveirim members, even after they rescued my son, they came to the hospital to stay with us long after the emergency was over. They, and their families, gave of their time to be there for us and make sure we had everything we needed.”

In an interview with Hamodia on Thursday, Wieder recalled, “As soon as I grabbed the boy and said, ‘Just hold on, I’ll bring you out,’ you could see the relief on his face immediately. The child trusted me when I told him I would bring him out.

“I am just overwhelmed with emotions of gratitude that I was the right shliach. And with all the hate for us out there these days, it’s nice to be able to make a kiddush Hashem.”


L-R:  Chaverim member Shloimie Spira, bus driver Usher Wieder, and Hatzalah member Moshe Schuster remove the boy from the water. (Chaveirim of Rockland)

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