Salute Our Heroes: Midland Care Nurse saves woman, dog who fell into ice at Lake Shawnee

Published: Jan. 31, 2022 at 7:34 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Tami Rossillon is a PACE nurse with Midland Care in Topeka, going door to door to check on elderly patients.

While she was parked at Lake Shawnee Thursday, she hopped on a Microsoft Teams group call with her coworkers. When she saw someone walking onto the ice to get their dog.

“It went to the edge to try and get a drink and then I saw the dog fall under and it was struggling and so of course she threw off her jacket and coat and went after the dog.”

She had a feeling the woman was going to fall through. So she sped over, then the ice caved.

She ran to an opening near the edge while calling 911. She said at that point, the woman was now about 30-feet-out.

She tried to break the ice with rocks but it didn’t budge.

“Another guy walking his dog was saying ‘call 911.’ I’m like ‘I did,’ and so as I’m running down I’m like ‘I need your leash.’”

She took the dog leash and threw it out the woman, who’s now neck-deep in water, using her elbows to hold herself up on the surrounding ice. After a couple of throws, the woman was able to latch on.

“She was able to finally wrap her arm around it because her hands were numb by then and I pulled her in.”

She said the woman was motivating her when throwing out the leash and pulling her in.

The whole time this is happening, her Teams meeting is still on with coworkers wondering what’s going on.

“I got back in the car and I’m like ‘Guys, I need to interrupt the meeting for a minute,” she said. “I said I think I saved somebody, but I showed them all the traffic then that got here. The police and fire rescue and water rescue had arrived.”

Rossillon went back to the same place the next day to remember her heroic effort.

“I didn’t sleep well last night. I kept re-seeing it in my head and so that’s why I came back here today to kind of just think about what happened and what could have happened. Just came back to absorb it.”

Rossillon says her dad worked with search and rescue teams so she had some prior knowledge of how to handle the situation.

She credits the woman staying calm in the situation as well.

Rossillon said the woman and the dog are okay.

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