Port Huron police cadet saves 2 young girls swept away by current in St. Clair River

Cadet Joseph Holzberger rescues girls swimming in St. Clair River

By Larry Spruill - Reporter, Derick Hutchinson, Dane Sager Kelly - Web Producer

PORT HURON, Mich. - A Port Huron police cadet rescued two young girls who were swept away by the current of the St. Clair River before a fireworks show.

Police said two Port Huron girls, ages 9 and 13, were swimming in the St. Clair River around 8 p.m. Thursday before a fireworks show. They were on a sandbar when the current swept them away, and they couldn't touch the bottom, police said.

The girls called for help as they drifted south, and their heads went underwater, according to officials.

The desire to serve the community is something police Cadet Joseph Holzberger lives for. He’s a part of the Cadet Training Program, striving to be a Port Huron Police Officer. Although, he’s not a sworn officer just yet, his on-the-job training was tested.

Holzberger was working the fireworks detail at the foot of Griswold Street when he heard the calls for help. Police said he removed his radios, told another cadet he was going into the river and swam to the sand bar.

“I heard a cry for help," Holzberger said, "and I ran towards the beach.” 

Holzberger pulled both girls to safety, police said.

“I did manage to swim out about 2 feet away from the sand bar and grabbed ahold of them and brought them back into the sandbar,” said Holzberger. 

The girls are safe now, but he’s earned a new title. 

“I just do my job. I don’t consider myself a hero,” said Holzberger. 

Police say the parents weren’t there when the girls experienced their close call but arrived later.

Child Protective Services was notified. 

Police said the St. Clair River is a dangerous place to swim without a flotation device. They said children shouldn't swim in the river without supervision, regardless of age.

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