Officer, Deputy Assist In Vacation Rescue

Staff Writer

The officer’s oath to protect and serve is generally thought of as only applying when an officer is on duty but for an Auglaize County Sheriff deputy and a Wapakoneta Police officer, vacation turned into a call to protect.

Deputy Jacob Foxhoven and Officer Jared Clark spent the end of June camping with their families at Green Briar Island Campgrounds. One evening, they spent some time swimming at the confluence of two rivers. After awhile, the men said they noticed the water starting to turn muddy and sticks and debris had started flowing down one of the rivers.

Then the water started to rise.

As they were getting out of the water, Foxhoven said they saw two young girls coming down the river in inner tubes.

“They were able to get to the shore just before we saw an empty tube go by upside down,” the deputy said.

Concerned that there was another person with the girls, the men called out and asked who they were with. The girls responded that their dad had been tubing with them. 

“At this point, we kind of relaxed a little,” Clark explained. 

As soon as they started to relax — thinking the danger was over — Foxhoven said he looked up the river and what he saw plunged both men back into the swift, rough water. The father was coming down the river but he wasn’t alone. Held above the man’s head was a toddler who was screaming in fear.

Foxhoven said Clark headed out into the water first but the power of the chest deep water pushed the officer around and made it difficult to head upstream. Barefoot and struggling to keep his footing in the current, Foxhoven headed out into the water to try and reach the man and the toddler.

As Foxhoven was making his way up the river, the man — Chad — was able to grab onto a tree that was hanging over the river. Now able to keep his head out of water as well as his son’s head, Chad waited to be rescued.

“Some people came out of a cabin that was up the other bank,” Foxhoven said. 

By this time, Clark said he had make it to where the rescue was taking place and helped get Chad out of the water.

Within an hour, Foxhoven said the water had receded back to its normal depth of about three feet. He added that the group later found out that though it was a bright sunny day at their campsite, it had rained earlier in the mountains, causing a flash flood that endangered Chad and his family. 

Looking back, Clark and Foxhoven said they were glad they were in the right place at the right time.

“I’m happy it went this way and not the other way,” Clark said.