Sioux Falls Man Honored For June Water Rescue

Michael Voigt Receives Highest Civilian Honor From Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — On June 10, Andy Morris, 25, and Brayden Nielsen, 17, were training a lab for water fowl hunting.

A windy day at Scotts Slough near Hartford created tough conditions.

One throw took a dummy too far out.

“Me, being like every other guy in the nation, thought I could go out and swim it and save a $15 dollar toy,” said Morris, with a laugh.

Morris ran out of energy swimming back, getting caught in the water.

He yelled to Brayden for help.

“There really wasn’t much thought process and I just kind of blindly went out there. Instinct just kicked in and said go help your brother, get him back to shore,” said Nielsen.

There was one major problem.

“Unfortunately, Brayden got out in the water and told me he can’t swim,” said Morris.

Brayden started to drown.

Fishing near-by was Sioux Falls resident Michael Voigt.

“The screaming got louder and yelling for help got louder and then we decided we needed to go,” said Voigt.

Voigt sprang into the water.

Rushing to help, he said his Boy Scout training kicked in.

After watching both men swim, he knew he had to help Andy first.

“If you’ve got a swimmer, he won’t fight you and you’ve got more strength left. If you go out to get a swimmer that’s just tired, you can just tow him and I just grabbed his arm and he could help me get him in,” said Voigt.

After getting Andy to shore, Voigt went back in for Brayden.

“I had to go under to get him, you know, I had to go down under the water to get him to get a hold of him. I thought I could lose him there. I could lose him because it’s deep and dark and you can’t see very clear in slough like that,” said Voigt.

Voigt brought Brayden to shore.

Paramedics took them both to a hospital where each were cleared on the same day.

By the faintest of chances, a fishing day for Michael Voigt saved two brothers.

“If he wasn’t there, I don’t think I was going to make it out. It was just running through my mind and all that stuff. Being on the stretcher and all that, it hits you hard,” said Nielsen.

“We owe him everything, we owe him our lives and anything we can ever do for him it’s done,” said Morris

A Minnehaha County Sheriff’s deputy responding to the incident had to tell the department about Voigt’s heroic actions.

Voigt was presented Thursday with the Civilian Service Award.

If you ask Voigt, all it took was some luck, divine intervention and the crossing paths of “good guys.”

“It was a blessing and it was a little bit of a scary blessing, obviously. Just don’t want to do it again,” said Voigt.

The Civilian Service Award is the highest civilian honor the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office gives out.

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