A Showing of Compassion

From great tragedy came a tremendous outpouring of compassion. When 6-year-old Nathan Woessner fell into a sinkhole at Indiana Dunes National Park for roughly four hours on Friday, July 12th, the community was deeply stricken. I myself felt a strong disbelief. However, it is impossible to ignore the tremendous outpouring of bravery, support, and generosity of the community in the face of hardship.

The event brought together rangers, police, businesses, and civilians all in attempt to support and rescue young Woessner. Within fifteen minutes of the 911 call, local park rangers and the Michigan City Police arrived ready to aid. When the first group of responders realized more help was needed, heavy equipment and excavation materials were brought in by NIPSCO, D & M Excavating, and Woodruff & Sons.

For 3.5 hours over fifty individuals, including responders, beachgoers, and family, all potentially risking their lives, dug relentlessly. Finally their labors paid off and Woessner was rescued and quickly transported by an off-road vehicle to an ambulance. From there, the Franciscan St. Anthony Health in Michigan City quickly took Woessner in. He was then transported to University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital where he remains in critical condition.

However, despite being buried under 11 feet of sand for 3.5 hours, Woessner’s doctors suspect he will make a miraculous full recovery. His life was likely saved by an air pocket in the sand, yet the tremendous efforts of all involved in the rescue that day deserve an unending amount of credit for his recovery as well.

As Woessner recovers, La Porte County continues to overflow with a need to help and support the family. The community has come together in an all out effort of giving. A group of Michigan City Firefighters were immediately inundated with inquiries on how to help serve Woessner’s family. The firefighters responded by partnering with the Unity Foundation of La Porte County. Together, they launched the Unity’s first online giving system for immediate emergency assistance. The Mount Baldy Miracle Fund is a unique emergency fund for the family that is properly managed online by the Unity Foundation simply conceived by the demand to help.

“Unity Foundation is very pleased to partner with the heroic firefighters who represent all those who jumped in to help rescue Nathan this weekend. Their big hearts are extending to setting up this fund for anyone wanting to make a donation to support the family with the unexpected medical expenses during this crisis situation. We are thrilled to hear that Nathan is recovering well and wish him and his family all the best,” said Sandy Gleim, Unity Vice President.

I find it truly astounding that the demand for generosity was so strong in the community that a new technology had to be created to answer. Those who were there when Woessner fell in the sinkhole responded heroically, and now those who were not there are also responding to the aftermath heroically. In moments like these, I am full of pride to live in an area so full of compassion. LPCL would like to personally commend all of the responders, civilians, businesses, media outlets, and organizations that have reached out, and lastly we wish Nathan Woessner and his family the best. 

If you would like to learn more about The Mount Baldy Miracle Fund and potentially contribute click here.


Photo credit to Associated Press, Daily Mail UK, & WLS-TV