BY GLENN PUIT
---- — BEULAH — Logan Snyder faced a difficult decision when he and three others, including a 9-month-old girl, were cast from a boat into Crystal Lake's chilly waters:
Swim for the shoreline more than a half mile away or stay with the group’s swamped boat and hope another boater will come by and rescue them.
“I was concerned about the baby,” Snyder, 14, said of the late-June incident. “I said, ‘I’ll swim.’”
Snyder swam more than a half-mile to shore, retrieved help and saved the lives of the two adults and child still in the water. The Owosso teen’s efforts prompted Benzie County Sheriff Ted Schendel to recognize Snyder for heroism.
“We are recognizing a young man who didn’t panic,” Schendel said last week. “Generally when something like this happens, people panic and things don’t turn out well, but he kept his head. He is a hero. He did a heroic action, and I think it’s important to recognize that.”
Snyder ventured onto the lake with adults Jeff Snyder and Krysta Witherall and the couple’s 9-month old daughter in a 12-foot aluminum fishing boat. The baby had a life jacket on and the lake was calm at the time.
Winds soon rushed across the lake, though, and Crystal Lake changed in an instant.
“We went out in the middle and it got so windy that the waves were starting to get really big,” Snyder said.
Once in the water, Snyder swam beneath the boat and retrieved life jackets for the adults. The group tried swimming and pushing the boat for a while, but it was clear the plan wasn’t working. Snyder opted to try for a swim to shore while the adults stayed with the baby.
“I’m a good swimmer,” Snyder said. “I grew up in a pool. When I was swimming my focus was on not drowning … I knew I was going to make it.”
Snyder got to shore and found a man who owned a boat. They quickly went back onto the lake and rescued the others.
Snyder’s father, Tom, said he’s exceptionally proud of his son’s quick thinking in the face of potential tragedy.
“I was overwhelmed when I got the story,” Tom Snyder said. “It went from a peaceful vacation to him being a hero. I’m very proud.”
Logan Snyder isn’t shying away from the recognition.
“I am a hero,” he said. “I want to be known all over the world.”