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Brodhead man honored for rescue efforts
Michael Krause, left, was honored with the Green County Sheriff's Citizenship Award on Tuesday for helping rescue three young swimmers from Decatur Lake in September. The children were lost and freezing; Krause heard their calls for help and went looking for them in his boat. Presenting the award is Sheriff Mark Rohloff. (Times photo: Mary Jane Grenzow)
MONROE - A Brodhead man was honored Tuesday for finding three children who were lost on the Sugar River and bringing them to safety.

Michael Krause of Decatur Township was given the Green County Sheriff's Citizenship Award for "significant and notable actions" in bringing the three missing swimmers, ages 16, 12 and 10, to safety on the night of Sept. 8. Sheriff Mark Rohloff presented the award during the Green County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Krause said it was about 8 p.m. Sept. 8 when he and his wife, Jenny, retired to the screen porch on their Park Road property. In the darkness, Krause could hear a faint cry for help off in the distance.

So he got in his boat and headed out on the water. After traveling about a quarter-mile, he came upon the three swimmers who had been missing from Sweet Minihaha Campground for at least two hours in Decatur Lake, a widening of the river.

Krause said the children were standing waist deep in water, freezing, when he found them. They were at a spot where "the water goes in five different directions."

The oldest boy helped Krause hold the boat steady so the two younger children could climb aboard. He took them back to his house where his wife fetched towels while they waited for emergency personnel.

The children, who were visiting with their family from McHenry, Illinois, may not have realized what they were getting into when they decided to swim in the river. They said they thought it was like a lazy river ride at a water park and would loop back around the campground, Jenny Krause said.

The river was particularly fast moving at the time due to recent heavy rains, Rohloff said. Emergency crews were out searching for the children, but given how exhausted the children were, the story could have had a tragic ending had Krause not found them when he did.

For his part, Krause never doubted that faint cry for help he heard in the dark.

"It sounded serious," he said.