Cedarburg woman honored for helping save 2 kayakers; ‘I would definitely do it again’

OZAUKEE COUNTY -- Extraordinary acts of service deserve extraordinary recognition. That was the thinking behind several citizen awards that were handed out by the Ozaukee County sheriff on Monday, Oct. 29.

The commendations were given to three citizens. They stepped in to help victims of vehicle crashes until emergency personnel arrived -- and one woman was recognized for rescuing not one, but two kayakers.

Officials with the Ozaukee County Sheriff's Office said Maureen Hackett deserves recognition after putting her life in harm's way to save the lives of two neighbors.

Maureen Hackett

"It's a little embarrassing," Hackett said.

"That's an important part of citizenship -- is being there for one another," said Ozaukee County Sheriff Jim Johnson.

On Aug. 29, Hackett was looking out her back window in Cedarburg when she saw something.

"Saw a head bobbing in the water," Hackett said.

Kayakers rescued from Cedar Creek

The water in Cedar Creek was moving fast -- amid a flood warning.

"Ran out and then I saw another one," Hackett said.

Kayakers rescued from Cedar Creek

Two kayakers had overturned with no life preservers on. Hackett quickly got a surfboard and a dog leash and jumped into the water.

"I took two, three steps and it was over my head. There was no way I could swim against the current," Hackett said.

Hackett helped the woman stay afloat with the board. She tied the leash around the man who was struggling to hang on to a downed tree.

"I just kept telling him to hold on and he looked like he was going into shock," Hackett said.

With Hackett's part done, they all waited for first responders. Hackett's 10-year-old son, Samson, had already called 911.

Samson and Maureen Hackett

"And then I saw my mom in the water. I felt, like, very scared," Samson Hackett said.

Young Samson was also recognized for his role in the rescue.

Hackett told FOX6 News during the rescue, she did not really think about it -- she just went into autopilot and did what she had to do.

"If not for Maureen's quick action, there's a high probability the second kayaker would have been swept downstream," Sheriff Johnson said.

But now that she can assess the risk of that experience, would she do it again?

"I would definitely do it again," Hackett said.

Also at Monday's ceremony, several sheriff's office personnel were presented with life-saving awards.