Conservation officers from Manistee and Lake counties receive lifesaving medals

Contact: Lt. John Jurcich 269-685-6851
Agency: Natural Resources

April 12, 2019

Two Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers were awarded DNR lifesaving medals for saving the lives of individuals involved in separate incidents that occurred during 2018.

Conservation Officers Josiah Killingbeck, who works in Lake County, and Scott MacNeill, who patrols Manistee County, were presented with the medals during yesterday's Natural Resources Commission meeting in Lansing.

Steve Burton, Scott MacNeill, Gary HaglerManistee, Michigan - In January 2018, MacNeill and Michigan State Police trooper David Storka responded to a call reporting a suspected suicide attempt. The call came from a concerned mother, who said her 16-year-old son sent her a text message that read, "goodbye."

Storka and the boy's brother arrived at the boy's home at the same time. They found him in the backyard, unconscious and without a pulse.

Storka was giving chest compressions in attempt to revive the boy when MacNeill arrived with an automatic external defibrillator - a portable device used to diagnose heart ailments and correct them by administering an electric shock. In this case, the AED indicated not to deliver a shock.

The officers continued CPR - MacNeill used a mask bag to deliver rescue breathing, while Storka continued chest compressions. Meanwhile, Munson EMS personnel arrived and were able to find the boy had a pulse and advised the officers to stop chest compressions.

Storka continued rescue breathing while MacNeill went to get his DNR patrol truck to take the boy to a waiting ambulance.

At Munson Medical Center in Manistee, the boy's condition was stabilized and he was then transferred to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids for further care.

The officers later followed up with the boy's mother, who said her son continues to make progress and receive treatment.

Steve Burton, Josiah Killingbeck, Gary HaglerBaldwin, Michigan - In October 2018, Conservation Officer Josiah Killingbeck responded to a domestic assault call in Lake County. The caller reported that his neighbor, a 27-year-old woman, was knocking on his door, covered in blood, saying her boyfriend was trying to kill her.

When Killingbeck arrived, the caller told him the woman had run into the woods. The caller could still hear her screaming and believed she was nearby.

Killingbeck went into the woods and found the woman's boyfriend, a 50-year-old man. Intoxicated, the man told Killingbeck that his girlfriend was trying to light him on fire and kill herself inside the residence.

Killingbeck looked in the direction of the residence, which had black smoke coming from it. During this time, Lake County Deputy Craig Mayo arrived and helped Killingbeck secure the boyfriend in a safe location.

The two officers entered the smoke-filled home, attempting to find the woman. Killingbeck and Mayo called out to the woman, who responded. She was coughing, lying on a mattress, and was covered by a blanket that had a pile of burning clothes on it.

With the woman making no attempt to leave the home, Killingbeck and Mayo physically removed the woman from the residence as it continued to fill with smoke.

Once outside, Killingbeck provided medical attention to the woman's bleeding wrist. During this time, an explosion engulfed the residence in flames.

Emergency medical service personnel arrived and took the woman and her boyfriend to Reed City Hospital where they were treated and later released.

Fire and smoke damaged the home to the extent it could no longer be lived in.

"Conservation officers are first responders," said Chief Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division. "They are prepared to respond to any kind of situation and have received first aid and medical training that can help stabilize a victim. I'm proud that Killingbeck and MacNeill collaborated with local law enforcement agencies to help the individuals involved in these incidents."

If you or someone you know needs emergency mental health care, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255).

Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned state peace officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect citizens by providing general law enforcement duties and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve. To learn more, go to

  • Photo 1: DNR Law Enforcement Division, Assistant Chief Steve Burton, Conservation Officer Scott MacNeill, Chief Gary Hagler
  • Photo 2: DNR Law Enforcement Division, Assistant Chief Steve Burton, Conservation Officer Josiah Killingbeck, Chief Gary Hagler