Gordon/Barrie Island man credited for saving life of seasonal resident

GORDON/BARRIE ISLAND—A Gordon/Barrie Island man is being credited for saving the life of his friend, a seasonal resident who lives in Bucyrus, Ohio the rest of the year.

“There is nothing I could have done, and if it wasn’t for Ron (Chatzissavas), Bob (Martin) wouldn’t be alive today,” stated Bea Martin of her husband’s incident last week.

Mr. Martin told the Recorder, “the incident took place on Tuesday (of last week) and I don’t mind telling you what happened so that it can act as a wakeup call for other people bringing in their water lines at the end of the season.” “What I didn’t do was hook up my belt around my chest waders when I was going out into the water,” Mr. Martin told the Recorder, who also noted he didn’t have a life jacket on. “What happened is I got out there and after we had brought the first section of the water line in, the water was the deepest I’ve seen all year, maybe five or six feet of water I was standing in, when I either stepped on a fish spawning hole or a pit, and the water and air all came in the chest waders and it flipped me upside down and my head was underneath the water.” Mr. Martin pointed out the water was very cold. “The temperature outside was freezing. It didn’t take very long for me to be in trouble and the more I fought trying to get back on my feet the worse things got. It was at that time that my friend Ron (Chatzissavas) and my wife, who were helping out, got out to me in the water, which I was floating in.” “I had just come back home from moose hunting when Bob called me on Tuesday and asked if I could help them out,” said Mr. Chatzissavas. “He had pulled in the first section of the line, and I hooked up this section of the line and pulled it onto the lawn by his house. When I turned back to the water I could see Bob was struggling in the water. I disconnected the line and he would have been in at least four or five feet of water. I took my four wheeler and went back into the water; he kept going up and down in the water with his face first in the water. Bea wasn’t where Bob was in the water at the time and their dogs were barking and I got to where he was he was soaked and weighed a ton because of the water in his hip waders. I grabbed him and pulled him up, his face and lips were purple and his eyes were closed. I kept calling out ‘Bob, Bob’ but he didn’t respond so I had to perform mouth to mouth resuscitation.”

“It was just lucky I had training through the military on what to do in these type of situations,” said Mr. Chatzissavas. “I stabilized him, and he finally got colour in his face. I can tell you I don’t ever want to go through this again.”

“The only thing Bea could have done was call 911 but they probably wouldn’t have been able get there in time,” said Mr. Chatzissavas. “He was about 100 yards from the shore and his boots were stuck in the mud. Mr. Chatzissavas said that even after coming to, Mr. Martin, “was disoriented. Bea and I left and took him on the bike back to the cottage. When we got him back in the house we put him into bed and put four blankets around him to keep him warm.” Mr. Chatzissavas stayed at the Martin’s for several hours after to make sure everything was alright. “I went back the next day and ended up almost crying because I had almost seen a dead man the day before,” he said. “As Ron and Bea were bringing me in from the water onto the shore I was in and out of consciousness several times,” said Mr. Martin. “Ron said when he first reached me my face was absolutely blue.” “I remember Ron asking if they should get me to the Mindemoya Hospital,” said Mr. Martin. “All I wanted to do was get into the cottage and into bed to get warm. They checked my pulse to make sure that was alright, and they me into bed and put four bed covers around me; and our Labrador retriever who also seemed to sense there was something bad going on, crawled into bed with me to keep me warm.” “I will never do that again and I would recommend to anyone who is trapping, duck hunting or bringing in their water lines to make sure their belt is done up properly on their hip waders and they are wearing a life jacket. You just never know what can happen.” “I was very, very fortunate to come out of all of this in good shape, considering,” said Mr. Martin. “The next day when I got up in the morning I was stiff and sore, but at least I had bounced back. I’ve been bringing in my water lines for the past 65-70 years and never had a problem, but one little mistake and it almost finished me. Ron deserves every bit of credit he gets for saving my life, because he sure as heck did.” “I didn’t do anything special,” said Mr. Chatzissavas “I did what any other person would do in the same situation.” Tom Sasvari