PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Dan Bickel, a 1995 Slippery Rock University environmental education graduate and now park manager at Moraine State Park, was among those honored earlier this week with the Lifesaving Award presented by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
Bickel and Rick Elia, a park employee, received the award for their work in aiding a father and son last July when the pair’s canoe capsized about a mile from Lake Arthur’s north shore, near Barber’s Point.
While fishing, the father and son were overtaken by an unexpected cold front that resulted in strong winds and white-capped, two-foot swells that overturned their canoe. A visitor heard their calls for help and drove to the park office to report the incident.
Bickel responded in the park’s patrol boat to find the two clinging to the side of their 12-foot aluminum boat. Both were wearing personal floatation devices, but visibly shaken. He helped them to safety, without further incident.
Elia was recognized for his efforts earlier in the day for strongly advising the two about the importance of wearing a PFD whenever canoeing. The fishermen said they remembered the advice and elected to wear their personal floatation devices.
“The commission provides Lifesaving Awards to individuals who take significant action to prevent the loss of a life of anglers, boaters, or users of commission property and we wish to thank you for your actions,” said John Arway, PFBC executive director.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.