PITTSBURGH, PA, DECEMBER 19, 2002—In its fifth and final award announcement of 2002, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 22 individuals from throughout the United States and Canada as recipients of the CARNEGIE MEDAL. The bronze medal is given to persons who risk their lives to an
extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. Three of the awardees died in the performance of their heroic acts.
The heroes announced today bring to 108 the number of persons who have been recognized in 2002 and to 8,666 the total number honored by the Commission since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission President Mark Laskow stated that each of the awardees or their survivors will receive also a grant of $3,500. Throughout the 98 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $26.2 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.
The awardees are:
- Anita Bowden Brown, Abbeville, Ala.
- Carlos Conceição, Bridgeport, Conn.
- Curtis R. Patterson, China Spring, Texas
- Christopher Duplessis, Mason Township, Maine
- Edward Christenson, Jr., Huntingtown, Md.
- Brian F. McDonald, Inuvik, N.W.T.
- Glenn S. Bingham, Williamsburg, Va.
- Edward Heussler, Richmond, Va.
- Lazaro Ortega, Los Angeles, Calif.
- Jeffrey Carl Harriman, Palmer, Alaska
- Jerry L. Croll, Aliquippa, Pa.
- Jerry Gibson, Loyall, Ky.
- Chang Bae Cho, deceased, Eureka, Calif.
- Victor T. Mills, deceased, Enumclaw, Wash.
- James Allen Shipp, Wellford, S.C.
- Melvin Witkovsky, Caro, Mich.
- Saad Ahmad Chaudry, Lincolnwood, Ill.
- Danny J. Kehler, Altona, Man.
- Michael J. Costello, Amherst, Ohio
- Lukas C. Dunkin, Lawrenceburg, Tenn.
- John H. Clendening III, Westland, Mich.
- Shane Cooper, deceased, Alpine, Tenn.
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
Anita Bowden Brown
Anita Bowden Brown saved a boy from being struck by a truck, Eufaula, Alabama, October 11, 2001. A small boy, about 2, walked onto a four-lane federal highway near his home and stood in the outside lane. Ms. Brown, 34, administrative assistant, was a passenger in a van that was approaching the scene in that lane. Seeing the boy, the driver of the van pulled onto the highway shoulder and stopped at a point opposite him. Ms. Brown immediately left the van, ran around the front of it, and entered the highway as fast-moving vehicles, including a tractor-trailer, approached. She ran to the boy and picked him up, then returned to the shoulder. Seeing the situation ahead of him as he approached in that lane, the driver of the tractor-trailer took his vehicle toward the inside lane, passing the scene within seconds of the rescue. That vehicle and two others were involved in minor collisions at the scene and came to rest at points just opposite and ahead of the van that Ms. Brown had been in. No one was seriously injured.
Back to Top
Carlos Conceição saved Timothy M. Mansfield from burning, Derby, Connecticut, July 31, 2001. Mansfield, 23, and a coworker remained inside Mansfield’s automobile after an accident in which the car left the highway, struck a tree, and caught fire. Another motorist, Conceição, 21, electrician, witnessed the accident and stopped at the scene. Flames issued from the engine area and grew quickly, producing heavy smoke and intense heat. Seeing that the extent of the car’s damage precluded the use of its doors or windows, Conceição crawled atop the wreckage, reached through the sunroof, and pulled Mansfield out. After helping Mansfield’s coworker climb through the sunroof, Conceição lowered Mansfield to the ground and dragged him away. Flames shortly spread to the interior of the car and consumed it. Mansfield and his coworker required hospitalization for extensive injuries.
Back to Top
Curtis R. Patterson
China Spring, Texas
Curtis R. Patterson rescued Margaret M. Ratliff from burning, Waco, Texas, July 12, 2001. Ms. Ratliff, 31, remained in the driver’s seat of her automobile after an accident in which the car left the roadway and struck a wooden utility pole. The pole broke in two, its top taking down power lines and falling to the ground at the front of the car. Fire broke out in the surrounding field at the scene, with flames approaching the car. Patterson, 37, customer service technician, drove upon the scene and responded to the car. Seeing that Ms. Ratliff was unable to free herself, he returned to his vehicle and retrieved protective gloves. He went to the passenger side of Ms. Ratliff’s car, and, despite not knowing if the car was electrically charged, made contact with it to open the front door. With flames spreading to underneath the vehicle, Patterson entered the car and cut Ms. Ratliff’s safety belt. He then pulled her over the car’s console and passenger seat, then removed her from the car and walked her away. Flames shortly entered the vehicle to consume it. Ms. Ratliff required hospital treatment for a third-degree burn to her left arm and other injuries. She recovered.
Back to Top
Mason Township, Maine
Christopher Duplessis helped to rescue Edward C. W. Romney from burning, Gorham, New Hampshire, June 22, 2001. Unconscious and secured by safety restraints, Romney, 37, remained in his racecar after an accident in which the vehicle left the racecourse, struck a tree, and caught fire. A course volunteer, Christopher, 14, student, was stationed nearby and with his father ran to the scene, where they found the car almost fully aflame. As Christopher’s father used a fire extinguisher against the flames, Christopher approached the driver’s side of the vehicle, reached through the opened door, and grasped Romney, who had been partially aflame. As Romney was still secured by his wrist straps, Christopher pulled to free him. He removed Romney from the car, then was joined by his father in dragging Romney farther away. Romney required hospital treatment for second-degree burns to his right arm, right leg, and face, and other injuries.
Back to Top
Edward Christenson, Jr.
Edward Christenson, Jr., saved Erin Long from drowning, Oak Island, North Carolina, August 13, 2001. While in the Atlantic Ocean, Erin, 16, came to be unconscious, and he floated face down in the rough surf about 150 feet from shore. On the beach nearby, Edward, 16, high school student, was alerted to the situation. He ran into the water and swam to Erin, then worked to gain a hold of him. When Erin submerged, Edward went after him and returned him to the surface. Holding Erin with one arm, Edward swam with the other against the surf and a strong seaward current. As they neared shore, others, including a nurse, entered the water and took Erin from Edward, who by then was weakened, and removed him to the beach. The nurse revived Erin, who was then taken to the hospital for treatment. Edward was not injured, but he required medical attention a day later for related effects, and he recovered.
Back to Top
Brian F. McDonald
Inuvik, Northwest Territories
Brian F. McDonald helped to save Melissa L. R. Rogers from drowning, Inuvik, Northwest Territories, August 6, 2000. After Melissa, 10, entered the deep water of Campbell Creek while wading at a boat launch, a man in her party entered the water for her. They struggled to stay afloat and were carried farther from the launch by the creek’s strong current. Hearing screams from the scene, McDonald, 33, clerk, who had been fishing nearby, responded. He immediately entered the 50-degree water, waded and swam to Melissa and the other man, who were then about 30 feet from the bank, and took Melissa from the man. With Melissa holding onto him, McDonald, fighting the current, swam back to the launch, arriving there nearly exhausted. The other man submerged, and his body was recovered the next day.
Back to Top
Glenn S. Bingham
Glenn S. Bingham helped to save Tyshawn Edlow from drowning, Jamestown, Virginia, June 25, 2001. Tyshawn, 10, was wading in College Creek, near its mouth with the James River, when he entered deeper water and began to struggle. The screams of a woman on the adjoining beach attracted the attention of Bingham, 59, meteorologist and clergyman, who was nearby. Although he was not a strong swimmer, Bingham immediately entered the creek, which was affected by the tide, then flowing, and waded and swam about 100 feet to Tyshawn. He tired quickly. Bingham dived for Tyshawn, who had submerged, and took him to the surface. A brief struggle ensued. Tyshawn then became motionless, and Bingham towed him toward the bank but had to stop twice because of fatigue, each time submerging. When they were near the bank, another man waded and swam out to them and returned Tyshawn to the beach. The other man re-entered the water for Bingham, who was exhausted, and pulled him in. Tyshawn revived on the beach but required hospitalization. Bingham also was taken to a hospital for treatment, and he recovered.
Back to Top
Edward Heussler attempted to rescue Helen C. Newcombe from burning, Richmond, Virginia, January 22, 2002. Ms. Newcombe, 79, was seated in the living room of her house when an accidental fire broke out nearby in the room. Her daughter pulled her to the floor and attempted to remove her from the house, but rapidly deteriorating conditions forced her out. Approaching the scene in his delivery truck, Heussler, 42, express mail courier, was alerted to the fire. Heussler ran to the house, entered the front door, and saw Ms. Newcombe lying on the floor amidst flames. He approached her, grasped her, and was dragging her toward the door when a flashover occurred, engulfing the room with flames and shutting the front door. Heussler opened the door and, on fire, went to the ground outside to extinguish the flames. Firefighters arrived shortly and removed Ms. Newcombe from the house. She had died. Heussler required lengthy hospitalization for treatment, including skin grafting, of extensive burns about the upper body.
Back to Top
Los Angeles, California
Lazaro Ortega helped to save Jenna M. Sarr from drowning, Laguna Beach, California, July 14, 2001. While on a Pacific Ocean beach, Jenna, 7, was knocked down by a wave and pulled into the surf. Ortega, 22, off-duty deputy sheriff, was visiting the beach and saw her struggling in the rough water. He waded and swam to her, then struggled briefly with her, during which they submerged. Surfacing, Ortega swam toward shore, pushing Jenna, but progress was difficult in the turbulent water. Another man entered the surf, swam to them, and took Jenna to the beach, then returned with a buoy and towed Ortega to wadable water. Jenna and Ortega required hospital treatment after the rescue. The following day, Ortega was hospitalized for continuing effects of having nearly drowned, and he was detained for three days. He required about six weeks of recovery.
Back to Top
Jeffrey Carl Harriman
Jeffrey Carl Harriman rescued Stephan Hansell from assault, Anchorage, Alaska, May 7, 2001. After a man armed with a knife entered the grounds of an elementary school and wounded three boys, he entered the building and proceeded through a hall. The school effected its lockdown procedure, with staff securing the students in the classrooms. Harriman, 50, a teacher at the school, saw the assailant in the hall and followed him. The assailant forced his way into one of the classrooms, where Stephan, 8, and other students had sought refuge. He approached Stephan and put the knife to his throat. Entering the same classroom, Harriman rushed the assailant and pushed him off Stephan and to the floor, Stephan sustaining a severe knife wound to the side of his head. Still armed, the assailant regained his footing and confronted Harriman, who maintained a position between the assailant and Stephan. Using a plastic bin as a shield, Harriman kept the assailant at bay until police arrived minutes later. Harriman removed Stephan from the room as police commenced a standoff with the assailant, then apprehended him. Stephan required two days’ hospitalization for treatment of his knife wound.
Back to Top
Jerry L. Croll
Jerry L. Croll rescued John Dunlap from assault, Clairton, Pennsylvania, October 19, 2000. Dunlap, 26, a police officer, was attempting to apprehend a man who had just shot him repeatedly about the upper body, inflicting multiple bullet wounds, including one to a hand. They struggled on the pavement for control of the assailant’s gun. From his vehicle at the scene, Croll, 57, heavy equipment operator, had witnessed the shooting. He then drove to where the men were struggling, exited his vehicle, and responded on foot. Croll grasped the hand with which the assailant was choking Dunlap and secured it. He then helped Dunlap secure the assailant’s other hand, which held the gun. Dunlap threw the gun from the assailant’s reach, then he and Croll held the assailant until another police officer arrived shortly. Dunlap was hospitalized a week for treatment of his injuries.
Back to Top
Jerry Gibson saved Jennifer Petrey from assault, Harlan, Kentucky, April 23, 2002. Ms. Petrey, 37, was at her desk in the bank where she worked when a man approached, grasped her, and forced her toward a utility room at the back of the premises. Her coworker, Gibson, 35, customer service representative, followed them, telling the assailant to release Ms. Petrey. When they reached the door to the back room, Gibson grasped the assailant, freeing Ms. Petrey, but the assailant then produced a loaded handgun. Gibson and the assailant immediately struggled for the control of the weapon, which fired. Ms. Petrey fled the bank. During their struggle, the assailant bit Gibson repeatedly about the hands, but Gibson gained control of the gun, then relieved it of its remaining bullets. He took the assailant from the bank outside to police, who arrested him. Gibson required hospital treatment for his bite wounds and scratches, and he recovered.
Back to Top
Chang Bae Cho, deceased
Chang Bae Cho died after attempting to save Ka-Eun Yoo from drowning, Willow Creek, California, July 13, 2001. Ms. Yoo, 20, and a friend were wading in the Trinity River when they entered water beyond their depth. They struggled to stay afloat in the swift current and shouted for help. A member of their party, Cho, 20, college student, was on the nearer bank. Although he did not know how to swim, Cho waded into the river and reached for Ms. Yoo, who was about 15 feet out. Making contact with her, Cho also entered the deeper water, then he and Ms. Yoo held onto each other as they struggled, submerging and resurfacing. Cho was carried downstream to where he submerged for the last time, and Ms. Yoo was able to swim to the opposite bank. Another man entered the river and rescued the friend then attempted to rescue Cho before returning to the bank. Arriving rescue personnel recovered Cho from the bottom of the river. He was taken to the hospital but could not be revived. He had drowned.
Back to Top
Victor T. Mills, deceased
Victor T. Mills died attempting to save Jason D. Moore from suffocation, Newcastle, Washington, August 29, 2001. Moore, 28, climbed into an underground vault at the construction site where he was working. He lost consciousness in the vault’s oxygen-deficient atmosphere and fell to a safety platform about eight feet into the 20-foot-deep vault. His friend and coworker, Mills, 34, heavy equipment operator, who was nearby, was alerted. Mills immediately entered the vault, descended to Moore, and tried to rouse him. Mills then began to climb back to the entrance of the vault, but he too fell. He dropped through an opened hatch in the safety platform and fell to the bottom of the vault. After some minutes, Moore revived and climbed toward the entrance of the vault, then was pulled from it by others. He required hospitalization. Firefighters removed Mills from the vault. He had died of injuries received during his fall.
Back to Top
James Allen Shipp
Wellford, South Carolina
James Allen Shipp helped to rescue William S. Hooper from burning, Greer, South Carolina, November 3, 2001. Hooper, 45, was unconscious in the seat of a burning pickup truck after a head-on collision with another vehicle before sunrise. Driving nearby, Shipp, 39, computer programmer, heard the accident and responded to the scene. After calling for help, he went to the passenger side of the truck and, with the man who had been Hooper’s passenger, extended his upper body into the cab and worked to free Hooper. As Hooper’s legs were stuck under the dashboard, which was aflame, Shipp and the other man struggled to free him. After considerable effort, they succeeded in extracting Hooper, then they carried him away from the truck as flames consumed the cab. Hooper was hospitalized for treatment of his injuries, which included second- and third-degree burns, and he died of his injuries the next day. Shipp suffered minor smoke inhalation but otherwise was not injured.
Back to Top
Melvin Witkovsky saved Bernice M. Atwood from burning, Caro, Michigan, February 11, 2002. Ms. Atwood, 86, was alone inside her one-story house after an electrical fire broke out in the bathroom and sent smoke into the house. Driving by, Witkovsky, 57, custodian, saw smoke issuing from the house and stopped at the scene. He approached the front door, where he learned that Ms. Atwood was inside. Witkovsky entered the house on his hands and knees, then, guided by Ms. Atwood’s voice, crawled through the smoke-filled breezeway and kitchen into the living room. Finding Ms. Atwood standing in that room, he grasped her by the hand and, still crawling, returned to the door, leading her. They exited the house to safety. Ms. Atwood required hospitalization for treatment of smoke inhalation, and she recovered.
Back to Top
Saad Ahmad Chaudry
Saad Ahmad Chaudry saved Francisco Orozco from being struck by a train, Niles, Illinois, July 21, 2001. Late at night, Orozco, 44, remained in the driver’s seat of his car, which had left the highway at a railroad crossing and came to rest on the tracks. The passenger of another car at the scene, Chaudry, 20, college student, witnessed the incident. He ran to Orozco’s car as the crossing’s warning mechanisms activated, signaling the approach of a high-speed train that was then about a half-mile away. With less than a minute’s clearance, Chaudry shouted at Orozco to get out of the car, but Orozco remained seated there. As the train bore down at undiminished speed, Chaudry opened the driver’s door and, the train’s light then on them, pulled Orozco from the vehicle. He fell backward, Orozco atop him. The train went into emergency braking at the scene but struck the car, demolishing it and pushing it down the track. Neither Orozco nor Chaudry was injured seriously.
Back to Top
Danny J. Kehler
Danny J. Kehler saved James D. Gibson from drowning, Kenora, Ontario, December 27, 2000. Gibson, 58, and his son-in-law, Kehler, 32, minister, were riding snowmobiles with two other men on ice-covered Black Sturgeon River. Thin ice gave way beneath Gibson, dropping him and his snowmobile into the frigid water at a point about 100 feet from the bank. Gibson had been separated from the others, who were unaware of the accident. With air temperature well below zero, Gibson struggled to climb from the open water, then to stay afloat, and he yelled for help. After several minutes, Kehler and one of the other men arrived at the scene and found Gibson, whose strength was sapped by then. Despite Gibson’s warning not to approach him on the thin ice, Kehler started to crawl out, taking with him two lengths of snowmobile starter cord tied together to make a line. When the ice cracked and sagged beneath him, Kehler retreated, then he resumed his approach over what appeared to be more solid ice. He went to within about five feet of Gibson, then, although the ice beneath him was cracking, threw the free end of the line toward Gibson, requiring repeated attempts before Gibson was able to seize it. Kehler pulled Gibson from the water and onto the ice, then crawled away from the hole, pulling him. He and the other men took Gibson to a residence about a mile away, where Gibson warmed. Both Gibson and Kehler recovered from their exposure to the cold.
Back to Top
Michael J. Costello
Michael J. Costello saved Eleanor M. Coe from burning, Amherst, Ohio, April 19, 2002. At night, Ms. Coe, 87, was asleep in the bedroom in one end of her mobile home after fire broke out in the sunroom, which was attached to the side of the structure. A neighbor, Costello, 28, production worker, discovered the fire and immediately responded to the scene. Failing to get a response from Ms. Coe, Costello kicked in the front door and entered the mobile home. Passing the burning sunroom, he ran through a hall toward Ms. Coe’s bedroom as flames started to enter the hall. He located Ms. Coe, then grasped her by the hand and led her through the hall, past the flames, to the front door, then outside to safety. Neither was injured. The mobile home was destroyed in the fire.
Back to Top
Lukas C. Dunkin
Lukas C. Dunkin saved Robert L. Justice, Jr., from drowning, Elgin, Alabama, October 26, 2001. Justice, 58, and another man were fishing from a boat in Wilson Lake near a hydroelectric dam. Strong winds against the lake’s swift current caused rough water that capsized their craft and threw them into the lake at a point about 1,800 feet from the closer bank. Fishing the calmer waters of a protected harbor along that bank, Dunkin, 18, college student, heard Justice shout for help. Although his bass boat was not intended for conditions of the type, Dunkin took it from the harbor and over the course of several minutes responded cautiously through the five-foot-waves to the scene. Dunkin neared Justice but was forced to circle him repeatedly out of the fear of striking him with his boat. Failing to secure Justice by rope, Dunkin positioned his boat alongside him, then, leaving the boat’s controls for the bow deck, Dunkin, with difficulty, hauled Justice aboard. Dunkin then returned his boat to the bank, Justice nearly unconscious atop the bow deck. Justice was taken to the hospital, where he was treated for hypothermia. He recovered. His friend’s body was recovered from the lake later that day.
Back to Top
John H. Clendening III
Shane Cooper, deceased
John H. Clendening III helped attempt to save, and Shane Cooper died helping attempt to save, Thomas L. Stewart from drowning, Cookeville, Tennessee, January 23, 2002. Stewart, 20, was one of a three-man public-works crew dispatched to a residential neighborhood to attend to flash flooding after a period of heavy rain. Wearing chest-high waders, he was swept feet first into one of two adjacent 36-inch pipes that took the rushing floodwater beneath a road surface. Able to cling to the edge of the pipe but nearly submerged, he called for help. His two coworkers responded immediately, one of them, Clendening, 22, entering the flooded area to grasp and secure Stewart. The other coworker called for help and obtained a length of chain that they tied to Stewart in an attempt to extract him from the pipe. Other public works employees responded, as did Cooper, 26, cable installer, who was driving by. Cooper entered the flooded area but was almost immediately swept through the adjacent pipe. The level of the water rose, submerging Stewart, yet Clendening maintained his grasp of him. Arriving rescue personnel secured Clendening and, after extended effort, removed him from the flooded area. He was taken to the hospital for treatment of hypothermia and bruising, then he required additional medical treatment for related effects. Cooper’s and Stewart’s bodies were recovered hours later. They had drowned.
76006-8665 / 75837-8666
Back to Top