While George Osterhues was driving from Ottawa, Canada down to Florida, he took a detour off of Interstate 77 on Sunday. This put him on a country road that runs across a creek that had overrun its banks and spilled over.
“Some people were turning around and I was trying to do the same thing but I was already a little too far,” said Osterhues.
At that time, Tom Hall and family were out scouting the area, checking to see people hadn’t got into trouble on the washed out road. He knows all too well how the creek can wash the road out quickly, and into the lake it feeds.
“We got to about right here and we could see his car which is all the way down there,” Hall said.
Hall used tree limbs to steady himself, and waded out to Osterhues vehicle, stuck in the torrent of water. He was hoping the vehicle was empty, and it wasn’t.
“I saw some movement and then he raised his hand and waved at me and that kind of broke my heart because I knew at that point we had to go back and get him,” Hall said.
At that point, Osterhues had been in the water for a while. Hall made his way over to Osterhues, and told him to hold on. He was going to get some equipment and his family from the truck for help.
After making his way back, a feat of strength on its own, Hall came back to rescue Osterhues. The water was over mid-chest on Hall, and he was ready to try to pull Osterhues out of the window. That’s when Hall noticed the dog.
“George was very calm. I begged him to leave the dog but he said the dog is going with us,” said Hall.
There wasn’t an argument. Hall knew chances were slim, but he hauled the 87-year-old man and his dog out of the car window. It took a complete effort from the entire Hall family, but after an hour or so of heavy work, they managed to get everyone to safety.
Having no car and no family near by left Osterhues in a bit of a spot, but the Hall family was willing to let him stay with them until he could get a rental car to continue his trip.
“They already did too much for me. They have a big family to take care of and now me on top of that,” Osterhues said.