To the Hero Fund Commission
Gentlemen: We live in a heroic age. Not seldom are we thrilled by deeds of heroism where men or women are injured or lose their lives in attempting to preserve or rescue their fellows; such the heroes of civilization. The heroes of barbarism maimed or killed theirs.
I have long felt that the heroes and those dependent upon them should be freed from pecuniary cares resulting from their heroism, and, as a fund for this purpose, I have transferred to the Commission five million dollars of First Collateral Five Per Cent. Bonds of the United States Steel Corporation, the proceeds to be used as follows:
FIRST. To place those following peaceful vocations, who have been injured in heroic effort to save human life, in somewhat better positions pecuniarily than before, until again able to work. In the case of death, the widow and children, or other dependents, to be provided for until she remarries, and the children until they reach a self-supporting age. For exceptional children exceptional grants may be made for exceptional education. Grants of sums of money may also be made to heroes or heroines as the Commission thinks advisable-each case to be judged on its merits.
SECOND. No grant is to be continued unless it be soberly and properly used, and the recipients remain respectable, well-behaved members of the community, but the heroes and heroines are to be given a fair trial, no matter what their antecedents. Heroes deserve pardon and a fresh start.
THIRD. A medal shall be given to the hero, or widow, or next of kin, which shall recite the heroic deed it commemorates, that descendants may know and be proud of their descent. The medal shall be given for the heroic act, even if the doer be uninjured, and also a sum of money, should the Commission deem such gift desirable.
FOURTH. Many cities provide pensions for policemen, firemen, teachers, and others, and some may give rewards for acts of heroism. All these and other facts the Commission will take into account and act accordingly in making grants. Nothing could be further from my intention than to deaden or interfere with these most creditable provisions, doubly precious as showing public and municipal appreciation of faithful and heroic service. I ask from the Commission most careful guard against this danger. The medal can, of course, be offered in such cases. Whether something more can not judiciously be done, at the request of, or with the approval of, the city authorities, the Commission shall determine. I hope there can be.
FIFTH. The claims upon the Fund for some years can not exhaust it. After years, however, pensioners will become numerous. Should the Commission find, after allowing liberally for this, that a surplus will remain, it has power to make grants in case of accidents (preferably where a hero has appeared) to those injured. The action taken in the recent Harwick Mine accident, where Heroes Taylor and Lyle lost their lives, is an illustration. The community first raised a fund of forty thousand dollars, which was duplicated by me after waiting until the generosity of the community had full scope. Here again the Commission should be exceedingly careful, as in this case, not to deaden, but to stimulate employers or communities to do their part, for such action benefits givers themselves as well as recipients.
SIXTH. It seems probable that cities and employers on this continent will ultimately be placed under similar conditions to those of Britain, Germany, and other European States, and required to provide against accidents to employees. Therefore, the Commission, by a two-thirds vote, may devote any surplus that accrues beyond providing for heroes and their dependents (which provision must never be abandoned) to such other modes of benefiting those in want, chiefly caused through no fault of their own (such as drunkenness, laziness, crimes, etc.) but through exceptional circumstances, in such manner and to such extent as the Commission thinks advisable and likely to do more good than if such sums were given to those injured by accident, where the latter may be suitably provided for by law, or otherwise.
SEVENTH. The field embraced by the Fund is the United States of America, the Dominion of Canada, the Colony of Newfoundland, and the waters thereof. The sea is the scene of many heroic acts. No action more heroic than that of doctors and nurses volunteering their services in the case of epidemics. Railroad employees are remarkable for heroism. All these and similar cases are embraced. Whenever heroism is displayed by man or woman in saving human life, the Fund applies.
EIGHTH. No personal liability will attach to members for any act of the Commission. The Commission has power to fill vacancies.
NINTH. The Commission has full power to sell, invest, or reinvest all funds; to employ all officials, including Secretary, traveling agents to visit and oversee beneficiaries, etc. and to fix their compensation. Members of the Commission shall be reimbursed all expenses incurred, including traveling expenses attending meetings. The President shall be granted such honoraria as the Commission thinks proper and as he can be prevailed upon to accept.
TENTH. An annual report, including a detailed statement of sums and medals granted and the reasons therefor, shall be made each year and published in at least one newspaper in the principal cities of the countries embraced by the Fund. A finely executed roll of the heroes and heroines shall be kept displayed in the office at Pittsburgh.
NEW YORK, MARCH 12TH, 1904
WITNESS, LOUISE WHITFIELD CARNEGIE