Recipient


Brother Nelson Spahr Wehler, Sr.


Bro. Nelson Wehler is a member of Hebron Lodge 465 in New Oxford, Pennsylvania. Brother Wehler is Chief of Security at Lake Meade, a gated community in Adams County between Dillsburg and New Oxford.

During the afternoon of February 20, 2003, he received an urgent call informing him that a resident senior citizen, while skating, had fallen through the ice and was struggling to survive. Even though he knew that Lake Meade's fire and rescue personnel were on the way, he drove directly to the site, ran down an embankment, and onto the frozen lake.

Seeing the victim about 60-feet from shore, Brother Wehler proceeded as far as he could, keeping in mind that the ice could break through beneath him. He assumed a prone position and crawled the remaining distance toward the skater. She was 80-years old, and had been in the water for more than 15-minutes. The air temperature was about 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and she was beginning to show the effects of hypothermia.

Brother Wehler, who has a serious heart condition himself, was trained in basic CPR and First Aid, but not in ice rescue techniques. However, seeing the immediate need, he ignored the risks, and slid on his stomach to get hold of the woman, locking her is his arms, with the intent to hold her until help arrived. After a few minutes, the woman was close to losing consciousness, and told him to let go, as she could no longer hold on. Not willing to give up, he placed his hands under her arms and used all his remaining strength to pull her out of the water. Bringing her onto the ice, he was slowly moving her away from the water, towards shore, as the emergency response team arrived.

The EMT's at the scene recorded her body temperature at 84 degrees, and determined that she had been in the water for over 25-minutes. She was rushed to York Hospital, where she was treated, and released the following day. Aware of Brother Wehler's own condition, the emergency team transported him to Harrisburg Hospital for observation, and he was also released the following day.

His unselfish and immediate action resulted in saving this woman from certain death, without regard to personal injury or possible loss of his own life.

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