MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — David Dannewitz and his son Dayson were awarded the North Dakota Highway Patrol Colonel’s Award for Excellence on Thursday for their heroic acts during the mid-April blizzard.
On the night of April 13, during the first April blizzard, two troopers were at the gate on Highway 83 going south out of Minot.
Because of worsening weather conditions, troopers were pulled from watching the gate so they wouldn’t be stranded.
As the troopers were leaving, one of the patrol vehicles got stuck. While they were digging the vehicle out, two snowmobile riders, David and 11-year-old Dayson, stopped to help shovel.
Once the snow was cleared from around the vehicle, the trooper was able to drive it 100 yards before becoming stuck again. The Dannewitzs helped again with shoveling and then left once the vehicle was able to get moving again.
The troopers didn’t make it very far before they couldn’t see anything, causing one trooper to drive into the median and get his vehicle stuck beyond what any shoveling could help.
The trooper climbed into the other patrol vehicle and the troopers tried to leave the area, but a short distance later the second patrol vehicle got stuck after hitting a snow bank.
By this time, the Dannewitzs had returned to help and offered to give the troopers a ride on the snowmobiles back to Minot.
Without the Dannewitzs, the troopers would have had to wait out the storm in their patrol vehicles. Highway Patrol says their willingness to help out at the time and in severe blizzard conditions allowed the troopers to get to a safe location to wait out the storm.
For their efforts, the Dannewitzs were both awarded the Colonel’s Award for Excellence for their selfless act that day during the historic blizzard.
The blizzard impacted hit the northwest region hard. The Minot area accumulated three to four feet of snow with wind gusts up to 55 miles per hour.
Roads going out of Minot were closed by the North Dakota Department of Transportation and the North Dakota Highway Patrol. Highway Patrol troopers were stationed at road closure gates around Minot to keep motorists from attempting to travel out of Minot.