MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The family of a 12-year-old boy struck by lightning say strangers helped save his life.

“They need to know it was because of them Nate is alive,” Nate Burke’s mother, Wendy, said.

Burke was struck by lightning while golfing with a friend at Enger Park Golf Course in Duluth on June 28.

He has been golfing since he was six and said he knew to get off the green when he heard sirens.

“We tried to pick up our balls first,” Burke said. “I don’t know if that was very smart.”

He doesn’t remember what happened next. A lightning bolt struck and knocked him out.

Rob Irving had just finished golfing in a tournament at the course. He was driving away when he decided to go check that no one was left on the course. He thought he spotted an abandoned golf club bag.

“An extremely loud, crack noise,” Irving said. “I started running, and I just remember saying to myself, ‘Don’t be a child,’ and the closer I got, the smaller he got. When I got to him, he was face down in the dirt.”

Irving started CPR, as the State Patrol, police, fire and EMTs responded.

“I hit my knees and just started to pray,” Wendy Burke said.

Her son was revived and woke up at a nearby hospital.

“When I was in the hospital, I thought I’d been checked in hockey,” he said.

He had burns on his chest and had injured his wrists in the fall. Doctors said he would be okay.

Irving, who has two sons of his own, said he won’t forget Burke. He thinks anyone would do the same to save a child.

“It’s just extremely rewarding to see him up and about,” Irving said. “Maybe I’ll run into him once in a while, take him golfing.”

Irving brought a sand wedge as a gift when he met Burke on Wednesday. He said he noticed when EMTs were working on the boy, that he didn’t have the right one for this course.

Kate Raddatz

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