8/12/2022 11:44:00 AM Ready for another season; life-saving episode can be celebrated now
The National Ski Patrol celebrated several members of the Wild Mountain patrol program Sunday night during a banquet at the hillside lodge, as the cool layer of pre-thunderstorm fog settled in the St Croix valley.
The National Ski Patrol western division honorees (there are 10 geographic areas) were called out, and finalists for October national patrol awards were applauded. Wild Mountain again was among a handful of ski areas in Minnesota collecting accolades for extraordinary patrol service and organizational tools.
All the while, there was one man who patiently awaited his turn until the end of the program, when he would grapple with his emotions to tell how, seven months ago he lost consciousness at the lift line and ever so briefly entered a world gone dark.
Ski patrol and staff made it possible for the light “to come back on” though, and Charlie Mehr survived a critical medical episode in December 2021. The fact he said, that nobody waited around for help to arrive, but instead were the help he needed, gave him the gift of “...a second chance to love the people I love.”
Plus Mehr gets to continue to tell the bad jokes that he has a reputation for. (An EMT in the ambulance that day may remember him for his “Eileen” joke...what do you call a girl with one leg shorter than the other?)
Charlie Mehr choked away emotion as he spoke of the split second life-saving actions and what they have meant to him.
Ski patrol members accepted their Purple Merit Star, for being responsible for saving a human life. Yellow Merit Star awards went to those who assisted. Purple Merit Star awardees included Mark Mullozzi, Eric Barber, Mike Palkowitsch. A Yellow Merit Star went to Kevin Coder.
Troy Klein was a bystander who called out for help as Mehr collapsed. He was recognized for participating in the CPR effort.
Wild Mountain employee Ben Smith got a lifesaving honorable mention for grabbing and delivering the AED kept at Wild Mountain, to Mehr’s side. Mehr regained consciousness rather quickly that day and he remembers how worried he was that they would helicopter him to the hospital at great expense. To his relief he went by ground transport. He is still impressed by the Wild Mountain National Ski Patrol response, saying, “I went down at 4:05 and by 4:30 I was loaded in the ambulance” and giving Eileen a hard time.
FYI.... National Ski Patrol is a 501C3 organization that has over 600 designated patrol squads and 30,000 members. It welcomes donations, as well as inquiries about how to train for and join its various ranks.
Wild Mountain wintertime operations co-owner Brad Larsen said the place couldn’t run without the ski patrol. It is a “selfless organization” he added, and Wild Mountain has enjoyed a terrific history with the patrol.
** Additionally the crew has a runner-up for national patroller honors in Taylen Peterson. She won a critical care award for her actions while responding to a personal injury accident at a horse camp where she worked.