Off-duty RFD Firefighter Saves Man

Lou Raguse

Mar. 5, 2019

Off-duty firefighters save man with CPR at Mille Lacs

A week ago, thanks to the blizzard, there was no way for ice fishermen to drive off of Lake Mille Lacs. But it's a good thing Joe Halaska and Adam Benson were there. "To be there for someone when they need you is something pretty special," Benson said. Friends since they were six years old, Joe and Adam grew up to be firefighters in the Twin Cities, just like Joe's dad Mike Halaska, who's retired from the Richfield Fire Department. All three of them were fishing together, and Saturday night, February 23, they made it into the Bayview Resort for food and drinks. "We looked over to our left and there was some commotion going on and we saw a guy slumped in his chair," said Halaska, who is a Richfield firefighter like his father before him. It was 68-year-old Dale Meyer from Onamia, who had spent part of the day snowplowing the lake. And he didn't have a pulse. Mike, Joe and Adam -- all trained first responders -- were ready to help "I was on one side, and Adam was on the other side, so if one of us got tired with the compressions we could easily just switch off," Halaska said. They performed CPR for ten whole minutes. "There's a definite feel for each other and we just jumped right into it. We really didn't need to communicate with each other a whole lot," Halaska said. Then Meyer opened his eyes. "It was pretty shocking that he started to talk to us," Benson said. Both of the young firefighters have saved lives before. But this is the first time they've used their CPR skills off the job. And it's not lost on them how fortunate it is that they were there. "You know, what are the odds we're up there that same night that he's there?" Halaska said. "It's one of the most memorable weekends I've had in a long time and couldn't have spent it with two better guys," Benson said. Meyer is home recovering. His sister-in-law said that it was likely Atrial fibrillation that led to the cardiac arrest.