Gaylen Vanderlugt chose a different route on a Wednesday afternoon drive and ended up rescuing a 76-year-old boater out of Kimble Lake.
His aquatic adventure started when his wife spied the bow of Robert Odean's 14-foot boat rising out of the water and eventually capsizing as they drove by in their vehicle. They pulled off Crow Wing County Road 39, into the driveway of Odean's lake residence and found a paddleboat near the water.
Odean was in the water hanging on to his boat. He had been breaking in a new, heavier engine in preparation for a visit from his son from Colorado. There was too much weight in the back of the boat and he ended up in the water.
"I got a nice bath," the Moline, Ill., resident said.
Odean said he didn't panic in the water but was happy to see Vanderlugt approach him in the paddleboat. Vanderlugt took the rope of the capsized boat and pulled it in as Odean hung on to the boat. Odean got to shore and into dry clothes.
Vanderlugt, a Breezy Point resident, never hesitated about stopping to help the boater. It was clear from the outset that Odean needed help, he said, and the availability of the paddleboat made the rescue easier.
"I never got wet at all," Vanderlugt said. "I wasn't real wild about jumping in and swimming. I'm not looking for any recognition. I did what I hope anyone else would have done."
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