Gladwin County man helps salvage stranded boats after lakes disappear

Published: May. 26, 2020 at 6:30 PM EDT
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(5/26/2020) - "I went through, like two days, three tank-fulls of gas in my truck. Just running to all different areas and stuff,” Bruce Gardner said. “But, it's what you do right? Isn't that what you're supposed to do as human beings - help each other out?"

Gardner said he has the ability to help, so why shouldn't he?

For 20 years he's lived just off the Tittabawassee River in Gladwin County. The community quickly learned he can fix up any boat and it won't cost them a whole paycheck.

"So I figured out, well you know, it would be a great thing if you just call me up and I come straight to your dock," Gardner explained.

That’s how his business, Mobile Marine, started. For the past decade, as a side job, he's taken his mobile marina and 24-foot trailer where it's needed.

Starting last Wednesday, that was wixom lake -.

After flood waters caused the Edenville dam collapse, the lake water flowed south. Countless boats got stuck, docks broke and homes were destroyed.

Gardner helped hundreds in the last week, many too shocked to think straight, find a starting point on their long path to recovery.

"Moving boats, pulled a couple cars out of the way,” he explained. “In some of the real lower areas, they were flooded and kind of floated off.... Some people I talked to in depth and helped them carry things out of the house, whatever, that kind of thing."

North of the Edenville dam, the water levels remained high in the wake of the flood. But wanting to inspect the dams, the County has been lowering the water levels since Thursday.

Officials gave everyone just three days to remove their boats from the water. And not everyone was in town, so Gardner stepped in.

"I've always been that way,” he said. “I've always tried to help people out. I know one day if I'm there, it would be nice, like if you came to me and said, ‘Hey, I got a truck, what can we do.’”"

The community, unable to pay him back, will be ready for that opportunity.

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