It was a perfect summer afternoon for a trip to the lake for some fun on the water. 

But Jessica Borsum and Jesse Bourgo never made it to Lake Sakakawea in north central North Dakota. 

Instead, they found themselves scrambling in the chest-high water of a roadside ditch, working frantically to free three young children trapped inside a sinking SUV. 

“We were driving and this man darted out waving his arms frantically on the side of the road,” Borsum said. “We slammed on the brakes and then saw the mom running and screaming, ‘My babies are in there!’” 

The woman’s children—an infant, a two-year-old, and a five-year-old—were strapped in their car seats, trapped inside the nearly submerged vehicle that had gone off the road and landed roof-down in a slough. 

Borsum said when she spotted the car and realized there were children inside, she panicked—but her husband Jesse sprang into action and the pair ran into the water with several others who had begun stopping to help. 

The situation in the water was challenging: the car was already almost filled with water and still sinking. “I was trying to hang on to the car so it wouldn’t go any deeper, but we were sinking, I was sinking,” Borsum said. Rescuers tried to stabilize the car and get their footing in the murky, muddy bottom to gain some leverage and stop the car from sliding any deeper. 

Bourgo said the strategy quickly became to get the car turned on its side so there was a chance at getting into it through one of the windows. 

He said the ragtag group of strangers worked together as they executed their plan. “It was an amazing group of people; everybody did something and it all just clicked into place,” he said.

The group succeeded in rolling the vehicle onto its side. Bourgo said another motorist punched the driver’s side window out with his fist which gave them access to the children. They were able to free the infant first and Borsum delivered the baby, who was not breathing, to another passerby who began giving CPR. 

“I heard the woman say, ‘Give me the baby! I’m a nurse!’” she recalled. 

Rescuers were next able to use a pocketknife to cut the seat belt from the five-year-old and bring her to safety.

But the two-year-old was still trapped, and by now, completely underwater.

That’s when Bourgo knew he had to do something drastic. 

“I climbed in the car through the window and went underwater,” he said. “I was just reaching around trying to feel for the car seat but I couldn’t see anything.” 

As he fumbled around in the dark, he felt the latch and was able to unclip the entire car seat—the child still strapped in—and lift it to the surface, where CPR was administered to the child by the same woman. 

Borsum—a registered nurse herself and the mother of two young daughters—said once the children were freed from the vehicle, the scene remained harrowing. “The mom was standing there practically hyperventilating, so I grabbed her and we just started praying,” she said. “We just begged the Lord to please bring them back.”

What happened next, Borsum said, was nothing short of a miracle. 

By the time paramedics arrived on the scene (the accident happened about 15 miles from the nearest hospital), all three children were breathing again. Alive because of the quick action and selfless bravery of complete strangers who happened to be in the right place at the right time. 

“I laid in bed last night just bawling with happiness that we saved those babies,” Bourgo said. 

“I’m speechless,“ Borsum agreed. “I literally can’t shake the goosebumps.” 

And as to the question of what made the couple stop, why they didn’t just keep driving towards their carefree lake day and let first responders handle the situation? 

“I’d stop for anyone—I’d help anyone,” Bourgo said.

“Life is so hard,” Borsum added. ”We never know what’s going to happen. We have to help each other.” 

Photo by Jesse Bourgo.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Carolyn Moore

Carolyn has served as Editor-in-Chief of Her View From Home since 2017. A long time ago, she worked in local TV news and fell in love with telling stories—something she feels grateful to help women do every day at HVFH. She lives in flyover country with her husband and five kids but is really meant to be by the ocean with a good book and a McDonald's fountain Coke. 

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

To the Mother of My Son’s Future Wife

In: Grown Children, Inspiration, Kids, Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
marriage, wife, husband, grown children,

To the mother of my son’s future wife, I’m in the midst of dirty diapers and temper tantrums, but I do have days where I think about the future and what it will look like for my son. I wonder who he will be, what he will do and probably most of all, who he will love. I wonder about the type of woman he will bring home to meet us one day. I have my own thoughts on the type of person I wish my son would fall in love with, but we all know that the heart wants...

Keep Reading

Trading Fleeting Moments of Fame for Unshakeable Faith

In: Faith, Inspiration, Relationships
Trading Fleeting Moments of Fame for Unshakeable Faith

The string quartet began playing Pachelbel, as my dad and I took our first steps down the aisle. I began to lose my composure as we proceeded to the altar. Hundreds of guests had their eyes on me as tears streamed down my face. Struggling to look my future in the eyes, I looked to the ground for reprieve. God, everything around me looks perfect, so why doesn’t this feel right? I’m not sure how I got here. The flame once dancing inside of me, has extinguished. Lord, I need you. Dad squeezed my hand gently, “Are you OK sweetie?”...

Keep Reading

Children Don’t Get Easier, We Just Get Stronger

In: Inspiration, Mental Health, Motherhood
Children Don't Get Easier, We Just Get Stronger

“This too shall pass.” As mothers, we cling to these words as we desperately hope to make it past whichever parenting stage currently holds us in its clutches. In the thick of newborn motherhood, through night wakings, constant nursing and finding our place in an unfamiliar world, we long for a future filled with more sleep and less crying. We can’t imagine any child or time being more difficult than right now. Then, a toddler bursts forth, a tornado of energy destroying everything in his wake. We hold our breath as he tests every possible limit and every inch of...

Keep Reading

This North Dakota Homecoming Queen is Capturing Hearts Everywhere

In: Inspiration, Kids, School, Teen
This North Dakota Homecoming Queen is Capturing Hearts Everywhere

When Paula and Kevin Burckard’s third child was born, she arrived with a little something extra the North Dakota couple never saw coming.  Newborn Grace had Down syndrome, and the diagnosis initially left the young parents devastated. “When Grace was born, I thought all my dreams for my daughter had basically been dashed,” Paula said.  But it didn’t take long for those fears to subside.  As Grace grew, not only did she meet and surpass milestones, her infectious joy, inspirational grit, and deep love of all things Michael Jackson transformed the family—and countless hearts. The Burckhards went on to adopt...

Keep Reading

Dear Kids, When I Forget What It’s Like To Be Little

In: Child, Inspiration, Kids, Motherhood
Hey Mom, Don't Forget—You Were a Kid Once, Too

The kids were squealing in the backseat. For the five minutes prior they were begging me to spill the beans on where we were going as I had only told them to get their shoes, get in the car and buckle up. It’s one of the ways I’ve learned to make a simple trip out of the house one that is a mysterious adventure to them. As we took left and right turns away from our house, they were trying to guess where we were going . . . and when we finally pulled up to a brand new playground...

Keep Reading

My Children Deserve To See the Whole Me, Not Just the Mom Me

In: Inspiration, Journal, Motherhood
My Children Deserve To See the Whole Me, Not Just the Mom Me

Before I was a mother, I was a human being. A human being with life experiences, passions, fears, talents, hobbies, goals, friends and aspirations that I cherished and tried to honor. Even though I went through a variety of seasons of life . . . from school-age days, to working adult, to wife . . . those things always stayed with me. I stayed open to evolving, but never let go of who I inherently was. Then came motherhood. And suddenly I found myself abandoning my commitment to remain true to me, and leaving any semblance of myself in the...

Keep Reading

My Mother-in-Law’s Legacy: Simplicity

In: Inspiration, Journal
My Mother-in-Law's Legacy: Simplicity

The memories of my mother-in-law spilled to the forefront of my mind, just as the contents of his jacket pocket fell onto our dresser. It was Proverbs 31, written on hotel stationery, in my neatest block print. Holding the small papers in my hand brought me right back to her graveside, on a hot summer morning, seven years ago. “Her children arise and call her blessed.” (verse 28) As my second daughter gave a mighty kick from the womb, visible to every mourner present that day, I couldn’t help but to allow my mind to wander. Were my values apparent...

Keep Reading

A Car Accident Left My Teenager Paralyzed—and Incredibly Fierce

In: Inspiration, Journal
A Car Accident Left My Teenager Paralyzed—and Incredibly Fierce

I drove back from my son’s college concert near midnight. Exhausted, I glanced at my 14-year-old daughter, Beth, asleep in the passenger seat. We were only 10 minutes from home. I thought I could make it until I heard a road sign flatten on concrete. As the car flipped three times across a bare Ohio field, we left behind an ordinary life. I escaped with cuts, bruises, and blood-matted hair. Beth was another story. The car was cut open and a helicopter rushed her to Toledo. A doctor told my husband John that she was paralyzed. When John broke the news...

Keep Reading

Dear Mama, You’re Allowed To Not Be There

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Dear Mama, You're Allowed To Not Be There

Friday afternoon was not much crazier than most afternoons. My husband was mowing the lawn, my daughter was hangry and my youngest son was due to be in a talent show in twenty minutes. I stood in the kitchen—where it seemed like I’d been for an hour—trying to motivate my family to eat dinner and get ready to go. “Get dressed, Jude. Make sure you eat something.” “Dean, do you want a slice of pizza before we leave?” I screamed over the lawn mower. “Maeve, are you going to the optional soccer practice or the talent show? You need to...

Keep Reading