By Pam Witt-Hillen, ThedaStar Flight Nurse
February 14 will mark the anniversary of Tiffany Dombrowski’s and Connie Loewe’s chance meeting in 2009. Although Tiffany has no recollection of this, she is grateful every day for “one of the angels” that helped save her life.
On that day, 7-year-old Tiffany was riding in a pickup truck that plunged through the ice on Lake Winnebago, killing her 9-year-old friend Savannah Kleinhans and Savannah’s father, Dan Kleinhans.
Tiffany was trapped under water for about 30 minutes before being rescued. As she was pulled from the icy water, Connie Loewe, a Stockbridge First Responder, instantly helped initiate CPR on the lifeless child. Tiffany was airlifted by ThedaStar to ThedaCare Medical Center – Neenah, where rewarming and resuscitation efforts were continued. She was then flown to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, where she spent five weeks recovering.
That was seven years ago, and the two strangers who met in 2009 remain best of friends today. Connie has continued to be a guiding force all these years, supporting Tiffany and her family as she reclaims her life. She’s inspired every day by this young lady’s courage and determination, and is grateful to have helped make a difference for her on that Valentine’s Day. Tiffany and Connie will visit Florida together this December.
Calumet County now has a dive team that can quickly respond to ice rescues, and “Savannah’s Pay It Forward Foundation” helped make this a reality. Connie Loewe is a dive leader for the team. Tiffany has also attended diving classes and hopes to be like her steadfast mentor and friend. Undoubtedly, Valentine’s Day will always hold special meaning for these two.