TWIN LAKES — Maria Burlingame, 11, didn’t hesitate to jump in the water to help an unresponsive woman whose kayak had capsized in the middle of Lake Mary on Thursday. Maria held the woman’s head above water until her mother, Jennifer Burlingame, a physician, could help get the woman into their boat and begin resuscitation efforts.
On Saturday, the family of the woman — Tina Krause, 51, of Twin Lakes — the Twin Lakes Police Department and Twin Lakes Fire and Rescue thanked the Burlingames, in town from Bloomfield Hills, Mich., to attend Country Thunder, for their “selfless and courageous acts.”
“We are here today to recognize some true heroes who did a very brave and heroic thing in our community Thursday afternoon,” Twin Lakes Police Chief Adam Grosz said at a ceremony Saturday held outside the police department, at which the Burlingames were presented with plaques and police and fire patches.
“If it wasn’t for the actions of Jennifer and Maria, this probably would have been a much different outcome. It would have been a tragedy in our community.”
Gary Krause, Tina’s husband, cried as he hugged each of them, calling them “angels.” Debra Taylor, Tina’s niece who was kayaking with her that day and also responded to her aid, also cried as she offered her gratitude.
Debra, who was also treated at the scene, said she had been paddling ahead of her aunt when looked back, saw Tina had capsized, and paddled back to help.
On pontoon nearby
At about the same time, Jennifer was on a nearby pontoon boat with her children, Maria, Colin, 9, and John, 4, and their nanny, Terry LaPointe.
LaPointe, herself a kayak enthusiast, said she could tell the kayakers were in distress and knows how easy it is to get fatigued while attempting to get back into a kayak.
“When we headed that way, we noticed that (Tina) was floating in the water, completing unresponsive, and close to going under,” Jennifer said.
Maria said she could tell as she swam closer that the woman was in trouble.
“I lifted her head out of the water,” Maria said. “It was a little bit scary. I saw that her lips were blue and there was foam coming out of her mouth.”
Jennifer also jumped in to help get Tina onto the pontoon boat.
“I started CPR right away,” Jennifer, whose husband Bret’s family lives in Fort Atkinson and also has family from Spring Grove, Ill., said.
Grosz said police were called to the lake at 3:10 p.m. Thursday for a report of a possible drowning. Rescue personnel met the pontoon boat at Lance Park and transported Tina to Aurora Medical Center in Burlington, where she was treated and released. Debra was evaluated and released from the scene.
Tina’s family said she wanted to be at the recognition ceremony Saturday, but she is still recovering at home. She is expected to make a full recovery.
“I am so happy that she’s better now,” Maria said.
Jennifer said she is planning on enrolling her children in CPR classes when they get back to Michigan.
“It is something everyone can learn to do,” she said.