Snow Story: Ty Gonser won’t forget those faces

Ty Gonser and Bill Kshir pulled two people to safety through this hole in their front windshield.

Ty Gonser and Bill Kshir pulled two people to safety through this hole in their front windshield.

By David Stevens

CMI Editor

dstevens@pntonline.com

Ty Gonser and Bill Kshir knew there was a car around there somewhere.

“We knew it was between two telephone poles. I said, ‘That drift looks a little different.’ The snow looked kind of dark blue,” said Gonser, an employee of Ray Lee Equipment who drove one of the company’s John Deere tractors to help rescue newspaper carriers Betty and Jimmy Anderson on Sunday afternoon.

Gonser said he learned as a child that sometimes snow piles had a blue-ish tint if they covered something large, like a car.

As Gonser and Kshir approached, they heard Jimmy Anderson beating on the car window. A few minutes later, they had removed enough snow to find a car buried under a drift 12 feet high.

Kshir, the city of Clovis’ assistant public works director, set about kicking the front window in with his boots. Then Kshir and Gonser dragged the Andersons through the window to safety. The Andersons had been trapped in their car for nearly 20 hours before help arrived.

“We saw their faces after we pushed the snow away and it’s something I’ll never forget,” Gonser said.

That wasn’t his only rescue on Sunday.

He said he pulled eight people from stranded vehicles in all, at six locations.

Curry County Emergency Management Coordinator Dan Heerding said Gonser was among about a dozen volunteers the city called on for help, to go with about 150 city, county and state workers who battled the blizzard for about 36 hours with little or no rest.

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