On Feb. 28, however, two roofers in North Dakota came to the rescue of a World War II veteran in the most literal way possible.
According to NBC-affiliated WSLS, Robert Brendel and David Teal of American Resurfacing in Mandan, N.D. were at a jobsite in Burleigh County installing shingles on a new home. Brendel shut off the radio to order more supplies, but in the ensuing silence something caught their ear.
“All of a sudden I heard somebody screaming for help and I told Robert: 'Listen' and heard it again. So, that's when we jumped into action and took off," Teal told WSLS.
The duo ran down to the banks of the nearby Missouri River and saw an older man struggling in the icy water. Teal called for help while Brendel dashed after the man and pulling him from the river.
“It was just adrenaline kicked in and just trying to get him out of (the river), you know. Fast and out before, you know, more ice broke or anything like that; Get him in, get him warmed up and just call the ambulance," said Brendel.
NBC-affiliated KFYR-TV reported that the contractors managed to move the man out of the water and attempted to warm him up until first responders arrived. The men later discovered that the man they rescued is a 96-year-old World War II veteran.
American Resurfacing Owner Scott Olson said he was proud of his crew members' heroism.
“A lot of people talk about doing stuff like that but these guys actually do it. It's pretty cool,” Olson said.
KFYR-TV reported that the veteran was doing well and recovering, and had apparently told the roofing crew his goal was to live to be 100 and he wasn’t ready to go yet. The contractors joked about going on a fishing trip, and Olson said if they took the veteran with them they could take a paid day off.
In Canada, two contractors had a similar experience last November when they saved a woman who fell into an icy river.