Wade Gobrogge, Ridgeville Corners, and his friends went to Michigan’s upper peninsula to hunt mushrooms, but made a much more unusual discovery.
Gobrogge, Joe Wilhelm, rural New Bavaria, and Kyle Badenhop, Deshler, were in a state park near the northern tip of Lake Michigan, Saturday, May 25.
All are 24 years old.
They had hiked about half a mile into the woods when Wilhelm called out, “Hey, Wade, stop!”
Wilhelm had found a man, dressed only in boxer shorts, laying on one side, curled up in the fetal position.
“We yelled at him, and he didn’t respond. We both yelled at him again, and he raised one hand.”
Gobrogge said the man’s hair was cut, but he looked like he had had about a fourday growth of beard.
The man was shivering.
Gobrogge said the weather hadn’t been cold, “but it was too cold to be out in your underwear.”
Getting help for the man wasn’t easy.
Gobrogge said there was no cell phone service in the woods, so he had to hike out over rough terrain to get back to their vehicle.
When he got there, he had to drive three miles before phone service was available.
Then, when he spoke to a 911 operator, Gobrogge didn’t believe the operator understood the gravity of the situation.
“I was kind of nervous,” he said.
When a rescue team arrived, it didn’t have enough personnel to get the job done.
The rescue squad was able to get a vehicle part of the way back into the woods, and a neighbor with an allterrain vehicle on tracks, with a trailer, made it part of the way.
Wilhelm and Gobrogge ran back out of the woods and carried a stretcher and blankets back to the point where the man was found.
Then they helped carry the man on the stretcher back to the ATV.
He was taken to an ambulance and transported to Marquette General Hospital, Marquette, Mich.
A spokesman from the Michigan State Police said the man was known to have mental health issues.
He wished to live in his van, the spokesman said.
The neighbor said the man’s van had been parked nearby for three days.
Gobrogge said paramedics told him the man had been in the woods at least 24 hours, and was suffering from hypothermia.
Gobrogge said he and his friends “were shocked the whole time.
“I guess we helped him. If we hadn’t, he’d been dead.
“It was better to find him alive than dead,” Gobrogge said.
By the way, Gobrogge and his friends found a total of 150 mushrooms.–David Pugh