By Owen Reissmann for Wausau Pilot and Review

Tuesday evening’s Marathon County Board meeting began with a presentation from Marathon County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Chad Billeb recognizing two deputies.

A life-saving award was given to Deputy Nathan Olig who also, in 2017, had received two commendations for service while serving in Winnebago County. In one of those cases, he encountered a man who had severed his arm and, having had a tourniquet on hand, was able to save the man’s life as well as his arm.

A commendation was also given to Deputy Adam Johnson.

Billeb explained that on Dec. 8, in the town of Rib Mountain, a single vehicle crashed into a tree. The car began to catch fire as Deputy Olig worked to free the driver who was trapped in the vehicle.

Deputy Johnson arrived a short time later and assisted Deputy Olig with stabilizing and rendering medical aid to the motorist. The driver was removed from the vehicle moments before it was engulfed in flames. Deputies Olig and Johnson got the driver to a safe distance and continued to assist him while emergency services worked to contain the fire. Temperatures at this time were approximately 19 degrees and the ground was frozen.

Firefighters that arrived on scene had to focus their attention on the fire which delayed and prevented medical intervention due to the instability of the scene, making the efforts of Johnson and Olig all the more important, Billeb said.

Deputy Olig received the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office Life Saving Award, while Deputy Johnson was honored with a Sheriff’s Commendation.

A memorial was read in dedication to the life and public service of Edward F. Fenhaus, a clerk for Wausau for several years, a member of the Marathon County Board of Supervisors for three decades, and an active member of the community. He served as a board member for both the Wisconsin State Fair and the Wisconsin Valley Fair in addition to belonging to the VFW, Elks Lodge, Moose Lodge, and the Easton-Hewitt-Wausau Lions Club.

One board member voiced a complaint about the county continuing to invest money making improvements on (formerly UWMC) University of Stevens Point: Wausau buildings—the fieldhouse in this case—and, indeed, whether the county should continue to own these buildings at all, given that the university took the name of the county out of the name of the school. However, as the item up for vote was meant to be a change in how the expense was being funded, not whether to fund it (funding had already been approved), the matter was dropped.