George Cross of Charlotte knows that he is a very fortunate man. Late on January 31 he had gone to spend some time with his buddy Everett Mathews Jr. of Cherryfield at Mathews' camp at Round Pond in Steuben. After they arrived, they decided to take a ride on a Polaris Ranger side-by-side recreation vehicle on the pond before retiring for the night. Mathews was the driver, and Cross was the passenger. Before they knew it, they had traveled into open water and were in trouble. The Ranger sank, and they knew they had to act fast or there would be no getting out. Both men tried to kick the doors open but were not having any luck. Finally, Cross kicked the door open and out he went. Mathews, realizing that Cross was out, exited the same opening.
Cross said he came up under the ice and knew that would be the end, but he came out from under the ice into open water and finally he could see his buddy's head. The pair could not get onto the ice, so they swam to shore. They had to walk approximately a mile across the ice to Mathews' camp to call for help.
The next day a crew came to retrieve the Ranger, but neither Cross nor Mathews could force themselves to put a foot on the ice to help and had to stand on the shore to watch the operation. Cross' wife Penney will probably have a hard time letting him go on another "buddy outing" in the near future.
As one talks with George Cross, he will keep repeating, "I shouldn't be here." He says that he continues to have this feeling that he has cheated someone, namely death. It was not his time to go, and God is not finished with him yet. In addition to his regular job, Cross spends over 200 hours a year with the Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department helping his friends and neighbors. He, like many others, has had a nightmare of being trapped under the ice, and he says that he not only has that nightmare but has lived to tell about the experience.
All of his friends and neighbors are very happy about his safe return to Charlotte and appreciate all he has done for the community in the past and that he is still here to tell how he "cheated death."