Bollinger County officer awarded for November campground rescue

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Seven to 10 inches of rain left people stranded last November.

MARBLE HILL, Mo. -- If there's one thing Richie McCall knows, it's that November floodwaters are cold.

As a sergeant with the Bollinger County, McCall, 31, was just getting off duty Nov. 15 when he volunteered to rescue stranded people in the Twin Bridges Campground.

"That water was very icy," McCall said.

On Friday, Sheriff Terry Wiseman presented McCall with a resolution of appreciation from the Missouri House of Representatives for his efforts in the rescues. The resolution was passed Aug. 3 and was sponsored by House Speaker Rod Jetton, R-Marble Hill.

Seven to 10 inches of rain fell in Southeast Missouri on Nov. 15, according to the National Weather Service. As a result, local rivers and creeks swelled and swallowed up roadways and yards.

McCall climbed into a boat piloted by Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper Matt Keeney, and the two raced off to help those they could.

The first two they picked up were rescuers who had become stranded and needed help, McCall said.

He later plunged into the frigid water to help a mother, child and grandmother who were trapped on their trailer board the boat.

While in the campground, Keeney had to fight the currents racing between the trailers and steady the boat enough to allow McCall to bring the residents aboard.

Despite the choppy, 5-foot-deep waters flowing above county roads, McCall said, he wasn't nervous.

"I'm really comfortable around water," he said. McCall, who was in the Navy for three years, attributed much of the successful rescues Keeney's piloting skills.

By the time he finished with the rescues, McCall had worked a 20-hour shift.

335-6611, extension 127

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