U.P. Conservation Officer Evink Honored For Saving Life

Two Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers were recognized for saving the lives of accident victims in the Upper Peninsula and Oceana County earlier this year.

Conservation Officers Mike Evink and Ben Shively received the DNR’s Lifesaving Award for their respective actions in the separate incidents. The awards were presented during the regular meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission in Lansing.

“Conservation Officers Evink and Shively are perfect examples of the type of law enforcement professionals we train our officers to be,” said Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division chief, who presented the awards. “Because of their rigorous training and professional demeanors, both officers immediately responded to their respective situations and were able to save lives. The DNR is proud to have Mike Evink and Ben Shively in its ranks.”

In January, Evink’s training was put to the test when he was dispatched to a home in the Upper Peninsula’s Schoolcraft County. A propane deliveryman found Inwood Township homeowner Ronald Haug on the garage floor, unresponsive after being overwhelmed by carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless, toxic gas. After attempting CPR, the deliveryman made an emergency phone call before being overcome by the gas as well.

Evink, who was 15 miles away when the call came in, went to the home, maneuvering his four-wheel-drive patrol vehicle through nearly 6 miles of unplowed roads. Both the homeowner and deliveryman were unresponsive when Evink arrived. Evink found Haug had no pulse and that the deliveryman was barely alive.

Evink opened the garage door to provide the victim with fresh air and continued performing lifesaving measures. An ambulance arrived about 15 minutes later and transported the deliveryman to Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital in Manistique, where he recovered. Unfortunately, Haug did not survive.

“Had Conservation Officer Evink not responded when he did, we likely would have lost both victims,” Hagler said.

Evink, a Grand Rapids native, began his law enforcement career as a city of Cadillac police officer. He joined the DNR in 2010 and has been assigned to Schoolcraft County since.

In March, Shively was on patrol in Oceana County when an erratically driven truck traveled toward him in the wrong lane. When Shively stopped his own vehicle, the truck slowly corrected its path and returned to the proper lane. As the truck passed by, Shively noticed a blank look on the driver’s face. Shively followed the truck and saw it again drift into oncoming traffic.

Concerned for the public’s safety, Shively stopped the vehicle and observed the driver was pale and sweating profusely. The driver told Shively he had cut his arm with a chain saw and was on his way to seek treatment.

Shively, a DNR Law Enforcement Division first aid instructor, observed the severity of the wound and immediately requested emergency medical assistance. He believed the driver was in shock due to significant blood loss. He then applied his DNR-issued Combat Application Tourniquet to the driver’s arm to contain the bleeding until emergency responders arrived.

“It is highly unlikely the driver would have made it to a hospital in time,” Hagler said. “He almost certainly would have passed out due to his condition and easily could have injured other motorists by crashing his vehicle. We’re pleased the victim is recovering well from the accident and we’re thankful for Conservation Officer Shively’s outstanding performance.”

Shively, a native of Farwell, joined the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division in 1995 and then was hired by the Law Enforcement Division in 2006.