The Journal Gazette
Monday, January 24, 2022 4:10 pm

Screams from river rescue still etched in officer's head

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

The terror in a boy's screams after he fell into the icy St. Joseph River propelled a Purdue University Fort Wayne police officer into live-saving action.

Officer BreAnna Wojnarowski hasn't spoken to the boy since the Jan. 18 rescue – she gave him a "loving lecture" about walking on ice – but his voice hasn't faded from her memory.

"That little man's screams, like chief said, will stick in my head," Wojnarowski said Monday during a ceremony celebrating her heroism. "It's probably the reason I jumped into action so quicky."

Chief John Cox of the Purdue University Police Department traveled from West Lafayette to present Wojnarowski with a few honors, including the One Brick Higher award. It is presented to Purdue students and employees who exceed the requirements of their role and, through extraordinary effort, improve the lives of those around them, increase the effectiveness of the workplace or prevent or solve problems.

"I think what Bre did was exactly that," Cox said, noting President Mitch Daniels decided to bestow Wojnarowski with the honor.

Wojnarowski's mother also pinned the Life Saving Award to her daughter's uniform.

"When I look at what she had to navigate, that situation could have gone so bad in so many ways," said Tim Potts, campus police chief.




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