Philip Bevacqua, 85, of Totowa, N.J., died May 17. Awarded the Carnegie Medal at age 77 in 2008, Bevacqua was a police captain for the Paterson, N.J., Police Department, having worked there for 26 years before retiring in 1988. On July 16, 2007, Bevacqua was at home, on his back deck, when a police officer stopped a hit-and-run driver outside his house. The driver produced a gun and shot the officer twice, and then he struggled against the officer to take the officer’s gun. The men were fighting in the middle of the street as Bevacqua, alerted by the gunfire, approached. Later stating that his instincts took over, Bevacqua ran to the assailant and punched him repeatedly in the face, allowing the officer to recover and control the situation. Bevacqua is shown at right, a day later, being congratulated by his old boss, former Paterson Police Chief Lawrence Spagnola.
Howard R. Giles II, 73, of Henderson, Nev., died June 28. Giles was awarded the Carnegie Medal in 1955 in recognition of his actions of Aug. 26, 1954, by which he, then aged 12, and another boy, 14, helped to save an 18-year-old boy from falling over a 150-foot precipice on Mount Charleston, near Las Vegas, while at summer camp. The victim lost his footing while climbing and slid to a point only eight feet from the edge of the drop off, where he lay, dazed and bleeding from deep cuts. Without ropes or other protection, Giles and the other boy descended on loose shale to him and supported him for 40 minutes, until other help arrived. The victim was moved to a ledge on the mountainside, where the group spent the night. He was then evacuated to safety, and Giles and the other rescuers descended the mountain. Giles later served in Vietnam.
Paul H. Olson, 92, of Anoka, Minn., died June 9. At age 38 on March 13, 1961, he saved a woman from drowning in the Mississippi River at Minneapolis. A taxi driver, Olson had seen the fully clothed woman, 29, walk slowly along the river bank, and he became suspicious of her actions. The woman then ran down the steep bank and plunged into the water, which contained ice floes. Olson jumped from his taxi, removed his outer clothing, and entered the river after seeing the woman struggle and submerge at a point about 75 feet from the bank. He swam to her, took hold of her, and returned her to the bank even though she resisted him halfway back. Both were taken to the hospital for treatment of exposure. Olson and his wife had five dependent children at the time, and the monetary grant that accompanied the award of his Carnegie Medal later that year “was used for a new baby and our home, and we are sure thankful,” he wrote.