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Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Marion County park ranger recognized for saving lives

Marion County park ranger Clarke Allen was awarded a certificate of recognition today for his recent actions that saved the lives of two stranded kayakers.

The certificate was presented to Allen during today’s regular Marion County Board of County Commissioners meeting.

Marion County Park Ranger recognized for saving lives
From left to right: Commission Chairman Carl Zalak, III; Park Ranger Clarke Allen; and Parks and Recreation Director Jim Couillard

Last month, Allen helped rescue two kayakers at Horseshoe Lake Park and Retreat in Fort McCoy.

Allen, a park ranger for over 30 years, currently oversees the Marion County Parks and Recreation’s north operational area. He lives at the park ranger residence that is attached to the park at Horseshoe Lake.

On an evening in early October, Allen was sitting on the front porch with his wife when he heard calls for help coming from the direction of the nearby lake.

When he ran to the lake, he could hear two voices calling for help. After calling 911, he prepared a jon boat with two life jackets and rowed onto the lake.

When he reached the kayakers, they told him that one of their kayaks had filled with water. While attempting to repair that kayak, the other one had floated away.

Allen provided the kayakers with life jackets, rowed them to shore, and they were met at the kayak/canoe launch area by members of the Marion County Fire Rescue and Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

Jim Couillard, director of Marion County Parks and Recreation, stated, “During a time of crisis, some people run away from danger and others run to the danger in an effort to help, and Clarke’s training and commitment to the safety of all park visitors and his team is an example of exemplary service to our community.”