Honoring Wes Michaels, a Heroic Dad

Wes Michaels gave his life to save his daughter

Wes Michaels was taking a rare day off on Thursday, June 17. It was his fifty-eighth birthday so he left Heidi, who is twenty-six and the youngest of his three daughters, in charge of the gas station he owned in Mentor, Minnesota. But when Wes heard there were tornadoes forming in the area, he jumped in his pickup truck and headed to the station to check on Heidi. Sure enough, within minutes, a twister was bearing down on the little station. Wes ordered everyone into the cooler right before impact. As Minneapolis Star Tribune writer Jon Tevlin wrote today, which, fittingly, is Father’s Day:

Michaels was a big man, about 6 feet tall with a broad chest, “a strong man who wasn’t afraid to use his strength,” according to his former boss, Orville Lee. Instinctively, he positioned his body above that of his daughter, and took the brunt of the force from debris as the building crumbled around them. Heidi escaped with a few cuts and bruises, but Wes Michaels died.

In the 1998 movie, The Man in the Iron MaskGabriel Byrne as D’Artagnan, Captaine Lieutenant of the Musketeers and Captain of King Louis XIV’s Royal Bodyguard, throws himself between twin brothers Louis and Phillippe as the former lunges to stab the latterr, taking the blade himself. D’Artagnan is the father of the twin boys, and as his life ebbs away, he dismisses the sadness of his fellow Musketeers, managing to whisper happily, “All my life, this is the death I have wanted.”

Like Wes, my birthday is June 17. Like Wes, I have a daughter I would gladly die for. Unlike Wes, however, fate has not summoned me to be a hero. WIth reverence and humility, I salute you, Wes. You were a hero to your girls in life and now in death. That is all a man can ask, and more than most men will achieve. Your family grieves, but I know that they are comforted by the great love that you even now are surely showering down upon them.

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2 Responses to “Honoring Wes Michaels, a Heroic Dad”

  1. V.E.G. Says:

    Wes Michaels is of German and Norwegian origin. He was eligible for membership of the Sons of Norway and was a hero!

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    There is no question about that. Wes was a true hero.

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