Deaf Man Risks Life Saving Deer From Icy River

A Duluth man who is deaf is being hailed as a hero after he risked his life to save a dying deer.
Steven Peterson, 51, was driving alongside the icy Kettle River on I-35 in Pine County, Minn. He gazed out his window when all of a sudden, “(I) noticed what looked like a rock bobbing up and down,” he said told the paper.  Peterson kept driving, but he couldn’t get his mind off what he had seen. He decided to turn around and take another look.

As he pulled up near a bridge, Peterson once again saw the object in the water.  This time, he could clearly see that the blob was a deer and that it was struggling unsuccessfully to heave itself from the ice.  He stopped and thought for a moment; he could call the police.  “But being a deaf individual,” he explained in writing to the paper, “I knew the struggle to communicate with the police would take too long.”

So Peterson said he slogged as fast as he could through the snow and tangled brush, finally reaching the river’s edge.  “I crept along the ice carefully, but quickly judging the strength of the ice as I went,” he noted. “I would not be able to hear the ice crack, so I kept my eyes on a swivel looking for fractures.”  Finally, he reached the deer and tied a rope around it.  With considerable effort, he hauled it to safety.

Peterson was able to shoot a cell phone video of himself with the deer just moments he pulled it from the ice.  Using American Sign Language, he explains that he’s decided to name the deer Miss Ice River.

The video quickly garnered more than 100,000 views on YouTube, and Peterson’s heroics inspired many comments.   “He’s just a very gentle, caring soul and would help anybody or anything that needed him to,” said his sister Trish Earley of Duluth.  

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