PITTSBURGH, PA, April 10, 2008 — In its first award announcement of 2008, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 22 individuals from the United States and Canada as recipients of the CARNEGIE MEDAL. The medal is awarded to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. Five of the awardees lost their lives in the performance of their rescue acts.
The heroes announced today bring to 9,173 the number of awards made since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission President Mark Laskow stated that each of the awardees or their next of kin will also receive a grant of $6,000. Throughout the 104 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $30.5 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.
The awardees are:
- Kenneth D. Gurnon, deceased, Newport News, Va.
- John A. Klang, deceased, Cazenovia, Wis.
- Neil Maycock, Centerport, N.Y.
- Jonathan H. Johnson, Colorado Springs, Colo.
- Mark Mireles, Burbank, Calif.
- Edwin Marron, Reseda, Calif.
- Theodore Lidgett, Redding, Calif.
- Katie M. Corrado, Lansdale, Pa.
- Gachino Galante, Rydal, Pa.
- Michael H. Schreiber, Linwood, N.J.
- Jean Patrick Policape, Skokie, Ill.
- Norman Jeffery Ringseth, deceased, Reno, Nev.
- Shawn M. McLean, Newark Valley, N.Y.
- Timothy Michael Barry, deceased, Ventura, Calif.
- Cristina Carrera Chavez, Thousand Palms, Calif.
- Katherine M. Dumas, Cathedral City, Calif.
- Jon R. Sallee, Nicholasville, Ky.
- Ross P. Moore, Dwight, Ont.
- Wesley James Autrey, Sr., New York, N.Y.
- Columbus Cook, Jacksonville, Texas
- Michael J. Carney, deceased, Freeport, Pa.
- Conrad Fourney, deceased, Boise, Idaho
Resumes of the acts follow. To nominate someone for the CARNEGIE MEDAL, write the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, 436 Seventh Avenue, Suite 1101, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, or call 1-800-447-8900 (toll free). Fuller information on the CARNEGIE MEDAL and the history of the CARNEGIE HERO FUND COMMISSION can be found at www.carnegiehero.org
Kenneth D. Gurnon, deceased
Newport News, Virginia
Kenneth D. Gurnon died attempting to save Corey A. Tewalt from drowning, Narragansett, Rhode Island, July 17, 2006. Corey, 11, was walking on large rocks along the shore of the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of Narragansett Bay when she slipped, fell into the water, and was pulled away from shore. The water was deep there and rough, with waves breaking about the rocks. A member of her party, Gurnon, 48, supervisor, immediately descended to the edge of the water and entered. He swam about 40 feet to Corey and then grasped her and began to pull her in. Almost reaching shore, Gurnon shouted for help before he and Corey were separated and pulled back out, with Gurnon then seen floating face down. Arriving police and rescue personnel returned Corey to shore and then Gurnon, who had been swept out about 300 feet. They were taken to the hospital, where Corey was treated for hypothermia and minor injuries. She recovered. Gurnon could not be revived, as he had drowned.
Back to Top
John A. Klang, deceased
John A. Klang died after saving an indeterminate number of persons from assault, Cazenovia, Wisconsin, September 29, 2006. A 15-year-old boy entered the school he attended, armed with a loaded shotgun and handgun. A school employee removed the shotgun from him, after which the boy produced the handgun and pointed it at two teachers, both of whom sought safety. Meanwhile, Klang, 49, the school’s principal and district administrator, responded and confronted the boy in a hallway. Klang and the boy then struggled, during which time the boy fired the gun repeatedly, striking Klang. Although he was mortally wounded, Klang disarmed the assailant, casting the gun through the hall, and detained him. A teacher and two students left a nearby classroom and secured the assailant until police arrived shortly and arrested him. Klang died in the hospital several hours later of his gunshot wounds.
Back to Top
Centerport, New York
Neil Maycock saved Michael C. Johnston from drowning, Centerport, New York, February 25, 2007. While walking on the ice atop Centerport Harbor, Johnston, 23, broke through at a point about 50 feet from the nearer shore. He was unable to pull himself from the water, the temperature of which was in the 30s, as was that of the air. Maycock, 40, company president, was walking on the shore, but several hundred feet away, when he was alerted to the situation. He ran to a point nearer Johnston, and then, removing his coat, entered the harbor in an area of open water that was clogged with sheets of ice. Pushing the ice from his path, Maycock waded and swam, despite wearing hiking boots, to Johnston, followed by his two dogs. Losing consciousness, Johnston submerged about then. He and Maycock grasped each other, and Johnston resurfaced. He grasped one of the dogs while Maycock held him by an arm and swam him toward shore, Maycock again having to push the sheets of ice away. Once they were able to stand, the men waded from the harbor. Johnston was taken to the hospital, where he was treated for severe hypothermia and cuts and bruises. Maycock was treated at the scene for cuts to his hands, and he recovered.
Back to Top
Jonathan H. Johnson
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Jonathan H. Johnson rescued Michael A. Strauch from assault, Colorado Springs, Colorado, January 1, 2007. While walking along a commercial street late at night, Strauch, 25, was attacked by a man who was armed with a knife. Without provocation, the assailant stabbed him in the back and chest. Walking nearby, Johnson, 34, sales manager, witnessed the assault. He dialed 911, and as he responded toward Strauch, the assailant advanced to him, swinging his knife hand at him. Johnson kicked at the assailant and then struggled against him, the assailant throwing him into a wall of a building. Johnson hit his head hard. Recovering, he punched the assailant repeatedly, sending him to the pavement and causing him to lose the knife. Johnson then tended to Strauch’s wounds. Police arrived shortly and arrested the assailant. Strauch was taken to the hospital, where he was admitted for treatment of his stab wounds, which were serious. Johnson required overnight hospitalization for treatment of a head injury, from which he recovered.
Back to Top
Mark Mireles and Edwin Marron helped to save a woman from falling, Encino, California, January 5, 2006. In a suicide attempt, a 52-year-old woman threatened to jump from a balcony on the sixth floor of a building to the paved parking lot below. Emergency responders included firefighters and Mireles, 38, and his partner, Marron, 25, both police officers. When Mireles and Marron entered the balcony, they saw the woman lying on her back beneath the lower of two horizontal bars that served as a railing across the balcony’s open side. The lower bar was about two feet above the balcony floor, and the woman was beginning to roll in that space to drop from the edge of the balcony. Although she greatly outweighed him, Mireles lunged toward the woman and lay atop her lower body, wrapping his arms around her legs. The woman struggled against him, taking her and Mireles’s upper bodies over the edge. Their combined weight neared 500 pounds. Going to the floor, Marron grasped Mireles by a leg and attempted to pull him back. A firefighter then entered the balcony, grasped Mireles by the belt, and pulled him and the woman away from the edge.
79668-9156 / 79667-9157
Back to Top
Theodore Lidgett rescued Judith R. L. Schmidt from assault, Redding, California, February 16, 2007. At night, Schmidt, 19, had just entered her vehicle in the parking lot of a store when a masked man, who was armed with a knife, approached and forced his way inside. Pushing her to the passenger side of the seat, he held the knife to her throat and demanded her keys. Schmidt opened the passenger door and dropped the keys to the pavement, and then she screamed for help. Her coworker, Lidgett, 59, retail associate, was at his vehicle, which was parked next to Schmidt’s. Seeing the assault occur, Lidgett looked briefly for something to use as a weapon and then approached the passenger door of Schmidt’s vehicle unarmed. He reached inside the car and pulled on Schmidt’s shoulder with one hand while pushing the assailant’s knife hand away with the other. Although the assailant was also pulling on Schmidt, Lidgett freed her from the vehicle. She left the immediate scene. When the assailant followed her out of the car, Lidgett slammed the door against him repeatedly. The assailant fled but was later apprehended by police. Schmidt suffered bruises and cuts, including a deep laceration to a leg that required hospital treatment.
Back to Top
Katie M. Corrado
Michael H. Schreiber
Linwood, New Jersey
Katie M. Corrado, Gachino Galante, and Michael H. Schreiber helped to save Gregory A. Steirer from drowning, Beach Haven, New Jersey, May 28, 2006. While swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, Steirer, 26, called for help as he attempted to return to shore against a strong current in the very cold water. Hearing him, Corrado, 23, marketing assistant, and a friend, Galante, 23, college student, who were on the beach in the vicinity, immediately entered the water and swam out to him, reaching him at a point about 170 feet from shore. Also unable to return against the current, they struggled to support Steirer, Galante suffering respiratory distress. Schreiber, 50, attorney, swam out to them from the beach, taking two short surfboards. Steirer and Galante each lay atop one of the boards, which Schreiber started to tow in, making any progress with difficulty against the current. Recovering somewhat, Galante gave up his board to Schreiber, who tied it to his ankle, thereby allowing him the use of both hands to paddle. They continued toward shore, again with difficulty. Corrado, meanwhile, swam to the side of a jetty that was in the vicinity and attempted to climb onto it, but the rough water battered her against it. A responding police officer aided her to safety, after which she was given oxygen and then taken to the hospital for treatment of abrasions and contusions. Another emergency responder took a longer surfboard out to Steirer, Galante, and Schreiber, after which a rescuer on a personal watercraft arrived and returned Steirer, then Galante, to shore. Schreiber and the first responder returned to shore atop the longer surfboard. Steirer also required hospital treatment, for hypothermia, and he recovered, as did Galante, who was cold and tired.
80000-9159 / 79399-9160 / 79400-9161
Back to Top
Jean Patrick Policape
Jean Patrick Policape rescued Joy V. Kora from burning, Skokie, Illinois, December 26, 2006. Kora, 54, lay unconscious on the floor of the living room in his one-story house after fire broke out in a bedroom and filled the structure with dense smoke. A neighbor, Policape, 44, systems engineer, was alerted to the fire and immediately responded to the scene. He entered the house through the front door and, below the smoke, which precluded visibility except for just above the floor, saw Kora about 12 feet into the room. Despite nearby flames that enveloped the bedroom and issued outside the structure to a point above it, Policape crawled to Kora. He grasped him by a leg and his torso and dragged him to the front door. There, another man helped take Kora to safety. Kora required extensive hospitalization for smoke inhalation and severe burns.
Back to Top
Norman Jeffery Ringseth, deceased
Norman Jeffery Ringseth died attempting to rescue Edwin A. and Iris M. Pike from burning, Reno, Nevada, August 11, 2007. At night, Pike, 71, and his wife, 72, were inside their mobile home after fire broke out in a hallway connecting the unit’s living room and bedrooms. At his home across the street, Ringseth, 44, disabled sales clerk, saw the flames, and he responded to the scene although he was recovering from a broken leg that had required a cast. He was last seen running to the side of the structure as flames grew and spread quickly, abetted by high wind. Firefighters arrived shortly and found Ringseth’s body in the mobile home’s master bedroom, along with those of Pike and his wife. All three had died of asphyxiation. The mobile home and the one adjoining it were destroyed in the fire.
Back to Top
Shawn M. McLean
Newark Valley, New York
Shawn M. McLean saved Deanna R. Hanyon from burning, Maine, New York, December 20, 2006. Restrained by her safety belt, Deanna, 17, was suspended upside down in the driver’s seat of her car, following an accident in which the vehicle left the roadway and overturned in a ditch. Fire erupted on the undercarriage of the car. Motorists stopping at the scene included McLean, 37, automobile mechanic. Unable to access the driver’s side of the car because of its positioning in the ditch, he broke out a window on the passenger side and crawled into the vehicle. He maneuvered to a point below Deanna and with difficulty unfastened her safety belt. Pulling Deanna with him, McLean moved back to the window and left the car with her. Fire soon entered the interior of the vehicle, and it was shortly engulfed by flames, which destroyed it. Deanna was taken to the hospital but was not detained, and McLean suffered a minor cut on his hand that did not need treatment.
Back to Top
Timothy Michael Barry, deceased
Timothy Michael Barry died helping to save Priscilla L. Yothers from drowning, Ventura, California, December 26, 2006. While on the beach with her mother, Priscilla, 4, was carried into the rough surf of the Pacific Ocean by the backwash of a wave. Her granduncle, Barry, 54, assistant cameraman, and others immediately responded from a nearby house just off the beach. Barry ran onto a rock jetty that extended into the water at the scene and proceeded to a point closer to Priscilla. Fully attired, he then entered the water, swam to Priscilla, and established a hold on her, keeping her at the surface despite the rough conditions. From shore, another man swam out to them, and he returned Priscilla to safety on the beach. Barry was then seen floating farther out, at a point about 150 feet from the beach. Arriving rescue personnel recovered him from the water but could not revive him, as he had drowned. Priscilla was hospitalized for treatment of hypothermia and other ill effects, and she recovered.
Back to Top
Cristina Carrera Chavez
Thousand Palms, California
Katherine M. Dumas
Cathedral City, California
Cristina Carrera Chavez and Katherine M. Dumas saved Jack Brownstone from drowning, Rancho Mirage, California, May 4, 2007. Brownstone, 87, remained in the driver’s seat of his car, which had entered a lake at a condominium complex and was beginning to sink nose first in water about 20 feet deep. Chavez, 21, caretaker, witnessed the accident from nearby. She ran to the bank of the lake and, despite her inability to swim, waded into the water and paddled out to the car, which was about 25 feet from the bank. At the driver’s side, she reached into the vehicle through the opened window of the driver’s door, grasped Brownstone, and pulled him head first from the car. Chavez struggled to keep Brownstone afloat, submerging repeatedly. Meanwhile, Dumas, 44, who was the director of security at the complex, was alerted and arrived about then. Although not fully recovered from recent surgery, she too entered the water and swam out. She grasped Brownstone by the shirt and with Chavez returned him to wadable water, where a man provided Brownstone aid in leaving the lake. Chavez and Dumas also exited the lake to safety. Brownstone was taken to the hospital for observation, and Chavez was treated there for minor ill effects. They recovered, as did Dumas, who was exhausted.
80292-9166 / 80651-9167
Back to Top
Jon R. Sallee
Jon R. Sallee helped to save James M. Polehinke from burning, Lexington, Kentucky, August 27, 2006. Polehinke, 44, was the co-pilot of a commercial regional jet that crashed during takeoff and caught fire. Severely injured, he remained restrained by a harness to his seat in the cockpit. Sallee, 26, airport public safety officer, responded to the scene, where he found that flames had engulfed the wreckage except for the area of the cockpit. Approaching the cockpit, Sallee saw that a responding police officer was inside, attempting to free Polehinke. Sallee also entered the cockpit, through a gap in the wreckage at the nose of the jet. Working together, he and the officer freed Polehinke, but with difficulty, flames just feet away. They then pulled him from the cockpit and dragged him toward a responder’s vehicle that had arrived. Polehinke required extensive hospitalization. The 49 other passengers and crewmembers of the jet died in the accident.
Back to Top
Ross P. Moore
Ross P. Moore saved a man from drowning, Dwight, Ontario, March 15, 2007. While attempting to cross the ice on Oxtongue River with his snowmobile, a 23-year-old man broke through thin ice at a point about midway across. The vehicle sank in the seven-foot-deep water, and the man shouted for help. At his nearby home on the bank of the river, Moore, 40, heard the man scream. He immediately responded to the scene, where he saw the man, partially submerged, clinging to the edge of the ice. Moore stepped onto the ice and walked toward the man. Near him, he removed his sweatshirt and, crouching, extended one of its sleeves to him. When the man grasped the sleeve, Moore pulled him atop the ice, which was cracking beneath them. Moore helped the man to his feet, after which they walked back to the safety of the bank.
Back to Top
Wesley James Autrey, Sr.
New York, New York
Wesley James Autrey, Sr., saved Cameron P. Hollopeter from being struck by a train, New York, New York, January 2, 2007. Hollopeter, 20, fell from the platform in a subway station and lay atop the nearest track as a train was approaching at about 15 m.p.h. on that track. Autrey, 50, construction worker, was nearby on the platform and saw him fall. Seeing the lights of the approaching train, which was then about 200 feet away, Autrey jumped down to the track level and in repeated attempts tried to move Hollopeter back to the platform. Although in emergency braking, the train bore down on them as Autrey then pushed Hollopeter into the trough between the rails and lay atop him. The front of the train immediately passed over them, the train stopping with its second car over the men. They were removed by rescue workers several minutes later, after power to the track was shut down. Bruised, Hollopeter required hospitalization.
Back to Top
Columbus Cook saved Darrion D. High from burning, Jacksonville, Texas, April 13, 2007. High, 38, was in a bedroom of his grandmother’s one-story house after fire broke out in a bedroom across the hall and filled the structure with dense smoke. Alerted to the fire, Cook, 49, truck driver, immediately responded to the scene from another residence in the neighborhood. He entered the burning house through the front door, but heavy smoke, which precluded visibility, nearly overwhelmed him, forcing him out. A second attempt was likewise abandoned. Cook entered the house a third time and, crouched over, felt his way about 25 feet to High’s bedroom. Finding High standing just inside the doorway, Cook picked him up and carried him to the front door as flames issued into the hall from the room of origin. They exited the house to safety. Cook suffered a minor burn to one leg, and he recovered.
Back to Top
Michael J. Carney, deceased
Michael J. Carney died saving John L. Ressani from being struck by a temper mill roll, Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, August 24, 2004. Coworkers Ressani, 48, and Carney, 50, were changing the two stacked rolls of a temper mill at a plant of the steel company where they were employed. They and another coworker were rigging the top roll to an overhead crane for repositioning when the crane began to move unexpectedly. As the crane moved the 14-ton roll toward Ressani by its secured end, Carney shouted a warning to him and then approached and pushed him hard from the roll’s path. Carney then turned, but before he could reach safety, the unsecured end of the roll dropped, pinning him to the floor. Bruised and sore, Ressani was treated at the hospital, and he recovered. Carney died at the scene.
Back to Top
Conrad Fourney, deceased
Conrad Fourney saved Sarah R. Cox from drowning, Banks, Idaho, November 26, 2006. Cox, 57, was navigating rapids in the Payette River when the bow of her kayak became pinned among rocks in the approximate center of the river. Trapped in her kayak in the rushing water, she lay partially submerged across an exposed rock as others, including her husband and members of a responding rescue squad, made repeated attempts to reach her. An expert kayaker, Fourney, 47, flooring contractor, was alerted to the situation and responded to the scene. Using a borrowed dry suit, helmet, and life jacket, he boarded an inflatable kayak and paddled to a position below Cox. When he backed the kayak to the rock on which Cox lay, Cox grasped the craft and held to it as Fourney stood and leapt to the rock. Standing, Fourney grasped Cox’s life jacket and tugged repeatedly, releasing her and her kayak. They spilled off the rock, Cox inverted in her kayak. Fourney uprighted her and accompanied her downstream to where a rescue boat took them to safety. Cox required hospital treatment for hypothermia and an aggravated shoulder injury, from which she recovered.
Back to Top