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Geoff Racette, 20, found the woman whose car went into a shallow pond on the evening of Friday, Jan. 11. He was bicycling home from work on Jan. 12 when he spotted the vehicle.

Joel Koyama, Star Tribune

Heroism on two wheels

  • Article by: EDITORIAL BOARD
  • Star Tribune
  • January 15, 2013 - 8:43 PM

Although Minnesotans love winter sports, bicycling in the cold is more than most are willing to endure. Thank goodness that wasn't the case for Geoff Racette.

As Racette, 20, biked home from work on Saturday, he spotted what no cars or truck on the road could see: a sport-utility vehicle on its side in a shallow pond. Rather than riding on, Racette stopped to investigate, an act a Plymouth police captain credits with saving Nancy Breberg's life.

The 67-year-old Centerville woman had been trapped for 18 hours with her feet in cold water when Racette stumbled upon her. She told him she was diabetic, so he crawled inside the vehicle through a back window and fed her his snack food. He then called 911, raced back to the road and flagged down a passerby to wait for police while he remained with Breberg.

The accident happened Friday evening as Breberg was searching for a St. Louis Park hotel where her husband's club was meeting for dinner. When she didn't show, Ron Breberg feared his wife might have had an insulin reaction. As the hours passed, he prayed for the best, but feared the worst.

He says Racette was an answer to those prayers. Nancy Breberg was taken to a hospital in Robbinsdale, then transferred to Hennepin County Medical Center, where she continues to recover. A doctor said she couldn't have survived the elements much longer.

Racette, who works at a supermarket, is saving money to attend college, where he hopes to study psychology. He dismisses being called a hero, saying, "I didn't do anything that anyone else wouldn't do."

But this humble young man on two wheels deserves all the praise we can heap. His actions on Saturday likely averted a tragedy. That makes him a hero in our book.

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