RUSH CITY, Minn. — A U.S. Army veteran is being hailed a hero again after he took up arms Thursday to save an eagle that was stuck in a tree and believed dead by authorities.
Jackie Gervais Galvin said she and her husband, Jason Galvin, noticed the bird Thursday. It was hanging upside down from a high tree branch in Rush City, Minnesota, with a rope tied around its foot. They called the sheriff's office, city hall, the fire department and others in an attempt to get the bird help.
"The stories were the same," Jackie Gervais Galvin wrote in a Facebook post about the rescue. "They said it had been there for two and a half days and that there was nothing they could do, and that the eagle had died and the movement we saw was only the wind blowing it."
The Galvins, convinced the bird could still be alive, were having none of it.
"I told Jason he had to shoot it free," Jackie Gervais Galvin wrote. "He was nervous, as he didn't want to get in trouble for shooting at an eagle, but I (knew) with his sharp shooter skills that if anyone would save this eagle, it was him."
Jason Galvin got clearance from a conservation officer with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to try to save the eagle, KARE reported.
"He told me he was a veteran in the service and he wouldn't do it if he couldn't do it safely," conservation officer Phil Mohs told KARE.
A neighbor lent Jason Galvin a .22-caliber rifle – which had a better scope than the one the veteran owns – and he set to work shooting at the 4 inches of rope holding the eagle in place.
It was windy at the time but a half hour and 150 bullets later, the eagle broke free.
In that moment "there were a lot of tears," Jason Galvin told KARE. "When it finally came down, it was breathtaking. It was a beautiful moment."
Mohs recovered the bird and took it to the University of Minnesota Raptor Center, according to the news station.
"It rode in the font seat with me and the whole time his head was up and he was alert," Mohs said. "It looked good considering it had been hanging there for two days."
The bird, named "Freedom" by the Galvins and their neighbors," was eating and drinking Friday.
"It was a good weekend for it to happen," Jason Galvin told KARE. "Fourth of July, you know, that's our bird."