Barge employees honored for saving man's life on Mississippi River

Image 1 of 2

Five barge employees will be honored Tuesday for saving a man's life on the Mississippi River last month. 

The men receiving the Lifesaving Awards from the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office are Ben Brooks, Jesse Harrison and Randy Kohl, all barge mechanics, Russ Galvan, a barge cleaner and Beasley Baker, another worker. The men are are employed by Upper River Services in St. Paul. 

On May 2, one of the employees saw a man jump from the Robert Street Bridge into the Mississippi River. The other employees quickly appropriated a tugboat, sped to the man's location and pulled him from the river. 

"I threw the life ring once to him and he didn’t want it, he threw it back," Galvan said. "So I threw it back to him again, I told him to put his arm in it and he grabbed it. I said you better take it or you are going to die. So, he grabbed it, and I pulled him up to the boat." 

"The rescued man was physically agitated and the employees kept him safe and secure until his care was turned over to the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office Water Patrol, the St. Paul Police Department and St. Paul Fire Medics," according to a news release. 

"At a moments notice, and we don't know when that's going to be, we just don’t know, all of the sudden we may be called upon to do something we weren’t expecting to do that day," Ramsey County Sheriff Jack Serier said. "And indeed, that call came on May 2, and all of you answered that call."