EXTRAORDINARY CITIZENS: Man honored for icy SUV save - KMSP-TV

EXTRAORDINARY CITIZENS: Man honored for icy SUV save

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BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. (KMSP) -

Many people strive to go above and beyond, and several people were honored for doing just that on Thursday night. In many cases, lives were on the line until an unknown hero came to the rescue.

"He deserves every bit of it," Nancy Breberg stated.

It's been about 9 months since Breberg nearly lost her life.

"You don't realize until you're about to lose somebody just how important they are," cautioned Ron Breberg, her husband.

Each time the Brebergs get a chance to see the 21-year-old man who saved her life receive an honor for his heroism, they are delighted.

"Anytime there's anything honoring him or an award or anything like that, we plan on being there," Ron Breberg said.

On Thursday night, that place was the Marriot Northwest in Brooklyn Center. Geoffrey Racette received the Extraordinary Citizens award for risking his life to save a 67-year-old he had never met before on a frigid night in the middle of January after Nancy Breberg lost control of her Trailblazer on the way to St. Louis Park.

"Went down there, fell through the ice doing it, and stuck with her and comforted her," Ron Breberg recalled.

Nancy Breberg had been trapped for 18 hours, stuck with her SUV tilted on its side. She was without heat and partially submerged when Racette found her and called 911. Looking back, Racette still only modestly discusses his life-saving deed.

"I think it's just amazing that something I did made it so that somebody else can live," he said. "I did the human thing."

But the Brebergs are eternally grateful for him, even though Nancy jokes that her life over the past few months has been "hell."

"It's been a lot of adjusting," Ron Breberg explained. "She started having a lot of problems breathing and that's when they found out … one of the alternatives was to put in a permanent trach."

The Brebergs say they're making that lifestyle adjustment because it's a lot better than the alternative would have been, and celebratory moments like Thursday are ones they will carry with them as they move forward.

They are also trying to pay it forward to Racette, who wants to be an EMT and firefighter one day. The couple has created a fund to help pay for that education, and donations can be made to the Geoffrey Racette Benefit at any Wells Fargo bank.

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