Archer, Iowa — An Archer couple who were nominated for the Iowa Governor’s Lifesaving Award for 2020 have been notified that they were selected to receive that award.
On May 15th of last year, Richard and Miriam Ludeke suddenly found themselves in the middle of a life or death drama as they were driving on Highway 60 near Carnes. Richard Ledeke tells us what happened.
(As above) “We were coming home from Sioux City and a car was crossing the highway and she did not see a tanker. He was a loaded tanker and he t-boned her right there on the highway. We were so close her battery flew past my window and I had glass on my car, from her car.”
Ludeke, who is a military-trained combat medic, says he and his wife immediately stopped to see if they could help.
(As above) “We spun around quick and parked right in front and ran down (into) the ditch. By the time we got to her car it had just stopped rolling backwards, so we were there instantly. A lady came down into the ditch to help and two county guys were right there and I asked them if they could tear the rest of the door off the car so I could climb in. They did and I climbed in. Her head was snapped back and so I asked my wife, I said, ‘Quick, grab her head.’, along with the other lady, and pick her head up. And they did, because she was spitting out blood.”
Ludeke says the victim, Dordt College student Mindi Wickstrom, was bleeding from numerous wounds and once her airway was open, he went about trying to control the bleeding.
Wickstrom was taken by helicopter to a Sioux City hospital following the crash. Two days later, Ludeke says he received a very emotional telephone call.
(As above) “Two days later her mother called me and she told me and she told me, ‘I want to thank you for saving my daughter’s life. She’s critical and in a coma, but she’s alive.’ And she said that was the greatest gift that anybody could give her.”
Unlike too many of this kind of story, he says this one comes with a happy ending.
(As above) “This lady, Mindi, is an amazing person. It is a joy to be a part of her life. She got up out of that bed. She was determined and she went back to Dordt and finished her college degree. Going from impaled…horrific accident…to brain injury, bleeding in her brain…to getting back up, going to Dordt and finishing college, and then she went and ran a half-marathon.”
The Ludekes have had the opportunity to speak with Wickstrom after her amazing recovery.
(As above) “We even met down at Carnes. (We) talked about the accident, what happened. And she asked me, ‘What was this scar, what was this scar, what was this scar?’, so I’m pointing out different places on her body, what was there in the scars and we were kind of having a big laugh over it.”
Letters from the State of Iowa informed Richard and Miriam that they had been selected to receive the Life Saving Award from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, though due to COVID-19 the actual ceremony will be held sometime next year. Ludeke says that, while receiving the award is an honor, for he and Miriam, it’s not the greatest honor.
(As above) “Mindi will be there and I couldn’t be more honored than to receive an award. But I have to tell you, the greater honor is to see this girl alive and moving forward with her life.
Richard and Miriam Ludeke live in Archer, where Richard is the Postmaster of the Archer Post Office.
Photo above courtesy of Richard & Miriam Ludeke