Firefighters and a police officer who found a missing woman alive in Lake Michigan near Waukegan last month were honored Tuesday by the city council.
The family of a 57-year-old woman filed a missing person report with the North Chicago Police Department on August 2.
Waukegan Deputy Police Chief Joe Florip told Lake and McHenry County Scanner the family reported that the woman was possibly having a mental health crisis.
The woman’s phone was pinging to the area of the Waukegan Harbor and Waukegan Police Officer Leonard Walker was sent to the area, Florip said.
“Didn’t really expect to find a whole lot I walked around and didn’t see anything that would reason me to believe that she was still down here,” Walker told WGN News.
“I had to make a decision I didn’t know what to do at that time and that’s when I reached out to the fire department,” Walker said.
The Waukegan Fire Department was called with their rescue boat on August 3 to help search for the woman using sonar.
Waukegan Fire Department members Cpt. Matt Burleson, Lt. Jacob Monat, and firefighters Tim Conroy, Alfonso Ramos, Michael Gallagher, David Freeman, Brian Bandel, Chris Logan and Andy Szocka responded to the call.
The woman had been missing for over 24 hours and crews searched Lake Michigan for several hours.
Firefighters spotted the woman under a buoy attached to a dock, Florip said. She was alive but unresponsive.
The woman was suffering from hypothermia and was transported to a local hospital for treatment.
Walker and the fire department members were honored by the Waukegan City Council Tuesday evening and given the Waukegan Proud award.
“Were it not for the quick thinking of Officer Walker and the Waukegan Fire Department through the unrelenting search efforts, we may be talking about a tragedy rather than a miracle. Thank you to all of those that were involved,” Waukegan Mayor Ann Taylor said during the city council meeting.