PITTSBURGH, March 17, 2020 — The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today announced 17 Americans and one Canadian have been named Carnegie heroes for entering into mortal danger to rescue others. They each will receive the Carnegie Medal – the highest honor for civilian heroism in the U.S. and Canada – for risking their lives while trying to save others from life-threatening perils that include an attacking dog, armed robbers, and a gunman who opened fire in a yoga studio. Those who died in their rescue attempts will receive the Medal posthumously. They include Kristina Jean Stratton who was trapped by fire while attempting to save her children from an upstairs room in her burning home; Jacob Farley, 26, who kept afloat a woman who was caught in the boil at a low-head dam until rescuers arrived, before he submerged and drowned; and 22-year-old Victor Mozqueda, who, despite not knowing how to swim, entered a cold, swift river after his friend’s 5-year-old boy fell in. The boy was saved, but Mozqueda drowned.
The Carnegie Medal is given throughout the U.S. and Canada to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. With this first announcement of 2020 recipients, a total of 10,153 Carnegie Medals have been awarded since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission Chair Mark Laskow said each of the awardees or their survivors will also receive a financial grant. Throughout the 116 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $41.7 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.
The awardees are:
- Ernest J. Tarsitano, Galloway, N.J.
- Jacob Farley, deceased, Wichita, Kan.
- Kenneth L. Hamilton, San Antonio
- Cameron K. Hanson, Fergus Falls, Minn.
- Arthur Ray Whitham, Jr., Lincoln, Ill.
- Thomas H. Hunnicutt, Phoenix
- Douglas Leroy Tallman, Sr., Marysville, Calif.
- Katherine M. Wenszell, Milwaukee
- Kenneth Alfred, Vista, Calif.
- Kristina Jean Stratton, deceased, Bakersfield, Calif.
- Victor Mozqueda, deceased, Newhall, Calif.
- Ann Rothpletz, Louisville, Ky.
- Yun Qi, Richmond, B.C.
- Nicholas Stephen Siokalo, Lutherville, Md.
- V. Thomas Hayes, Sr., Barnhart, Mo.
- Joshua Ryan Quick, Tallahassee, Fla.
- Joseph A. Arsenault, Jr., Farmington, Maine
- Nicholas Claudel, Belgrade, Maine
To nominate someone for the Carnegie Medal, complete a nomination form online, write the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission at 436 Seventh Ave., Suite 1101, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, or call 1-800-447-8900. More information on the Carnegie Medal and the history of the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission can be found at carnegiehero.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.