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Minneapolis man saves two lives on Lake Superior

DULUTH, MN-- It's not every day a person is called on to rescue those in danger.

On Wednesday, a Minneapolis man was faced with the call, after a day of surfing around Duluth.

"There were huge waves. Like I said a surfers delight and a dog owner's worst nightmare I guess," said 26-year-old Darby Voeks.

Voeks is from Minneapolis and happened to be at the right place at the right time.

"I saw a woman come up to me frantically saying she needed help," Voeks said.

At the same time, the Duluth Fire Department was responding to the scene.

"The Duluth Fire Department got a call for a dog that had gone actually over the pier and ended up in the water in the canal," said Duluth Fire Chief Shawn Krizaj.

That's when Voeks went into action, rescuing a dog that belonged to a woman named Jennifer, and her aide Domonick who went after the animal.

"Domonick was freaking out saying I don't know how to swim. I don't know how to swim. I saw him and jumped in and pulled him close to get him to grab on the ladder," said Voeks.

Then moments later, Voeks jumped back in to save Ellis the dog.

"It sat on my legs as I tried to pull myself up. When we got over the cement wall the coast guard and fire department were running around," Voeks said.

Voeks' selfless action is now being recognized by first responders in Duluth. Now up for a Police Partnership award, Voeks is being praised for his actions.

But it's the lesson he learned from the rescue that he will carry with him forever.

"I'm really glad that this woman said something. I'm checking my own heart trying to remember the importance of looking around us, and just being aware that people are struggling around us. Even though we may feel like life is going great for us, that's not always the case for people around us. It was important to get one last wave in I guess. I'm glad I did," said Voeks.

Voeks and Jennifer exchanged numbers after the rescue. They plan on staying in touch.

John Cardinale

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