(KWWL) – Three weeks after Mike Jensen was found alive, he and his family got the chance to meet the man who made it happen.
This whole thing was never about me. This, right here, is what it's been all about,” said Larry Lehman, the man who found Mike Jensen on July 10, as he met the family Saturday afternoon.
Saturday was the first day Jensen had been out of the hospital since he was found, just in time for his birthday weekend. It was also a way to say thank you to Lehman, something the family had been anxious to do since the start.
"I've never talked to him before right now, so this is so special,” said Jennifer Jensen, Mike's wife.
For Lehman, it's a day he won't forget and said it stays with him all the time like it's burned into his memory.
"I'm going to be honest with you, I cried a lot Friday. I cried a lot Saturday. I cried a lot Sunday because these were emotions I had never felt,” said Lehman.
Mike Jensen escaped the Ravenwood Specialty Care facility in Waterloo late at night July 6. He was found that Friday, less than a mile away from the facility in a ditch at the intersection of Hammond Avenue and San Marnan Drive.
Lehman was working in the area that day and didn't know Jensen was missing until he saw Mike in the ditch.
"I glanced and I saw it. Then a car honked and I looked away, then my brain was like 'what was that?' I started staring and trying to figure out if what you're seeing is what you're seeing. I saw your arm go up and everything went from there,” Lehman said.
Once it became apparent it was Jensen who Lehman had found, it was a rush of excitement and concern to get Jensen to safety.
"The one fireman went through the cat tails with one arm and you could just see how excited they were. When you opened your eyes, just wow, that was totally incredible,” said Lehman.
Jensen's family aren't letting another moment slip by and are taking every day to say “thank you.”
"Every single day. Every single day. Say 'I love you' and 'You're important to me,'" said Jennifer Jensen.
Jennifer Jensen said Mike's next step will be to go to NewAldaya for continued rehabilitation and therapy. She said getting him out for this weekend was a challenge as it would have been easier for him to transfer directly from MercyOne to NewAldaya. She said that with the kindness of both facilities and the willingness to do a little more paperwork, the weekend was made possible, adding the right thing to do isn't always the easiest option.