Staff Sgt. Abe Faulkner, of St. Anthony, Mo., helped rescue his neighbor from high waters on Big Tavern Creek near Iberia, Mo. last week. Local emergency responders used Faulkner's boat to reach the stranded driver and get him to safety unharmed. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Sarah E. Lupescu, Missouri National Guard).
By Sgt. Sarah E. Lupescu
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A local Missouri National Guardsman helped rescue his neighbor from high waters on Big Tavern Creek near Iberia, last week.
Staff Sgt. Abe Faulkner, of St. Anthony, was driving to work one morning when he noticed a truck sitting in high water that had covered the highway.
"I came down the hill and saw the water first, then I saw the truck," Faulkner said. "I got out of my car and asked the driver what he wanted me to do."
The stranded driver, Cory Holtmeyer, had already called somebody for help. Holtmeyer's dad and uncle were the first people to arrive on scene.
"Their main focus was to get Holtmeyer a life jacket and they were wanting to get out in the water to help him," Faulkner said. "I didn't want to put other people in harm's way by doing that."
Faulkner called 911 and it was decided there was a need for a boat.
Faulkner had a fishing boat at home they could use. By the time he arrived with his boat, the fire marshal and fire chief were there. They put two of their volunteer fire fighters on the boat and gave instructions for what to do when they reached Holtmeyer.
When the team reached Holtmeyer they gave him a life vest and put a rope on him. He was able to make it into the boat unharmed.
Looking back on that morning, Faulkner explained that the quick decisions made by himself and the emergency responders were critical to helping the stranded driver.
"When I first showed up I could see the truck's headlights," Faulkner said. "About an hour later the water was already running in through the truck's open windows. So the water rose more than six inches in less than an hour."
Not knowing if the vehicle would stay stationary in the rising water, Faulkner said he felt obligated to help and do anything that he could.
"I have had a couple people tell me that I kept a level head and did what had to be done to help," Faulkner said.
Faulkner is a member of Joint Force Headquarters in Jefferson City and works fulltime in the Combined Support Maintenance Shop at the Ike Skelton Training Site.
He has been in the Missouri Army National Guard for nine years and deployed to Iraq with the 1035th Maintenance Company from 2005 to 2006.
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