A SWAT team armed with shovels

Members of the Ozaukee County Special Response Team take a break from training to come to the rescue of a woman struggling to clear her driveway

MEMBERS OF THE Ozaukee County Special Response Team were training at a vacant house on Highland Drive in the Town of Port Washington Tuesday when they saw a woman struggling to clear her driveway, so they stopped what they were doing, gathered all the shovels they could find and went to her aid. Posing with the woman, Heather Contresceri (left), for a photo after they completed their training were the team members, who hail from the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Department, the county’s police departments and the Wisconsin State Patrol. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

The Ozaukee County Special Response Team may have a new nickname — the  tactical snow shovelers — after members came to the aid of a Town of Port Washington woman Tuesday.

The team, aka the county SWAT team, stopped its training at a house on Highland Drive in the Town of Port Washington when they saw Heather Contresceri kneeling in the driveway after she got sick while shoveling.

“I got so worked up I got sick and kneeled down,” Contresceri said. “I looked behind me and there was this trail of guys with shovels. They said, ‘Go inside, we’ll take care of it.’

“The whole time I’m out there shoveling, I’m thinking, ‘How can I get this done?’ The next thing you know, they were all there ready to help.”

Contresceri said she had to get out of her home because her 7-1/2-month-old daughter Nyah Rose needed diapers. Nyah’s father, Avery Monticelli, was out of state for work, so Contresceri tackled the driveway and the more than a foot of snow piled on it while her daughter napped.

“I tried to take a step and went in up to my knees,” she said. 

She went to the garage to start the snowthrower, but it died so she took up the shovel. 

“I’m very out of shape,” she said, so she took breaks as necessary. “I had to get it done.”

But then, Contresceri said, she got sick and to her surprise the 15 or so members of the Special Response Team came to her rescue.

“In the middle of their training, they stopped for me,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it. The fact they all came is incredible.”

The team asked what had happened to her snowthrower, she said, then sent her inside.

“I said I would help them but they said no, just go inside,” Contresceri said.

The team members didn’t have enough shovels to go around, she said, so as one tired they would hand off their shovel to another.

“They were going crazy,” Contresceri said. “They got it done quickly.”

She took video of the team and asked them to pose for a picture before they returned to their training —something the team members were happy to do — then posted it on Facebook to express her gratitude.

“I’m just so grateful,” Contresceri said, noting she had called several people to try and get help — even if it was just moving the four foot-high pile of heavy snow at the end of the driveway left by the plow — to no avail. “I didn’t know what to do.

“Now I can get in and out.”

The team told her they would return after their practice to clean up the driveway a little bit more, she said

Sheriff Jim Johnson lauded the team — which is made up of deputies as well as officers from the county’s police departments and the State Patrol — and said its actions  are a testament to the members’ commitment to helping others.

“That’s what they do, they help people,” he said. “This job isn’t just about arresting people but keeping people safe.

“They came across a citizen in need and helped out. They don’t do it for recognition, they do it because they truly care about people in Ozaukee County.”

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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