PITTSBURGH, PA, December 22, 2009 — In its fourth and final award announcement of 2009, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 23 individuals from throughout the United States and Canada as recipients of the CARNEGIE MEDAL. The medal is given to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.
The heroes announced today bring to 9,327 the total number of awards 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 financial grant. Throughout the 105 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $32 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance. The awardees are:
- Seth C. Russell, Portland, Ore.
- Ryan W. Derry, Sherwood, Ore.
- Michael Paul Mizzone, Orange, Conn.
- Darryl A. Putz, Manchester, Iowa
- Kurt James Johnson, Bloxom, Va.
- Elizabeth M. Kelley, Peoria, Ill.
- Timothy B. Haas, deceased, Chagrin Falls, Ohio
- Paul Haas, Chagrin Falls, Ohio
- Michael Allen Hill, Larwill, Ind.
- Jason Wayne Spencer, Columbia City, Ind.
- Mark C. Moore, Tallahassee, Fla.
- Dalton Lewand, Tallahassee, Fla.
- Derek C. Merman, Lake Grove, N.Y.
- James P. McCaskey, Bartlett, Tenn.
- Richard Shawn Harper, Fort Worth, Texas
- Brandon Rothrock, Ellenboro, N.C.
- Joshua A. Bumgarner, Bostic, N.C.
- Walter M. Gannon, Belvidere, Ill.
- Rolando Campuzano, Sr., deceased, Warm Springs, Ore.
- Allen Chadwick Harris, Nashville, Tenn.
- Derek J. Creel, Warrior, Ala.
- Krista D. Girvan, Edmonton, Alta.
- Kim R. Grove, Pilot Mound, Iowa
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
Seth C. Russell
Ryan W. Derry
Seth C. Russell and Ryan W. Derry rescued Abilsai Morales-Roblero from burning, Portland, Oregon, August 30, 2008. Unconscious, Morales-Roblero, 20, was trapped in the front passenger seat of a sport utility vehicle that crashed into a hillside at night. The back end of the vehicle caught fire, and flames spread into the passenger compartment. Russell, 45, real estate broker, drove upon the scene and learned from others there that the vehicle was occupied. He mounted the front part of the wreckage and helped force open the front passenger door. Although flames by then had reached the back of the front seats, Russell extended his upper body into the vehicle and worked to free Morales-Roblero, burning his hand when he attempted to open Morales-Roblero’s safety belt. Russell called out for a knife. Derry, 34, a police officer who had arrived by then, responded to the vehicle with a knife. As flames issued high off the rear of the vehicle, Derry extended his upper body through the passenger door and freed Morales-Roblero of his safety belt. The two rescuers then grasped Morales-Roblero by the arms, pulled him out, and moved him away shortly before flames grew to engulf the vehicle. Two other occupants of the vehicle died at the scene. Morales-Roblero was hospitalized for treatment of severe injuries, which included second-degree burns. Russell also received hospital treatment, for smoke inhalation and minor burns to his hands and forearms, and Derry sustained a minor burn to a forearm; they recovered.
81602-9305 / 81649-9306
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Michael Paul Mizzone
Michael Paul Mizzone rescued Josef R. Bruckuf from burning, Orange, Connecticut, February 12, 2009. Bruckuf, 82, lay unconscious on the kitchen floor of his one-story house after an accidental fire broke out in the adjoining living room. His neighbor, Mizzone, 47, carpenter business representative, discovered the fire and, barefoot, ran to Bruckuf’s front door. Deteriorating conditions, including flames breaching a front window, precluded entry there. Mizzone then went to the back door, opened it to dense smoke, and entered the house. He started to crawl through the kitchen but had to retreat for fresh air. On a second attempt, Mizzone crawled into the kitchen and found Bruckuf at the opposite end of the room. He grasped Bruckuf and crawled back to the door, dragging him, again having to retreat for air before he removed Bruckuf from the house. Flames grew quickly to fill that end of the structure. Bruckuf was hospitalized for treatment of serious burns and died of them six days later. Mizzone also required hospital treatment, for smoke inhalation, and he recovered.
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Darryl A. Putz
Darryl A. Putz rescued Harold L. Minor, Jr., from burning, Ryan, Iowa, December 19, 2007. Minor, 46, was the driver of a tractor-trailer that crashed into two other rigs that had collided in heavy fog on a state highway. Injured and dazed, he was trapped in the wreckage of his truck tractor, which was leaking diesel fuel, as flames erupted there and entered the cab. Another motorist, Putz, 46, maintenance worker, had come across the first accident and witnessed the second. He climbed into the cab of Minor’s truck from its passenger side and dislodged and removed wreckage that blocked his access to Minor. As flames had spread to Minor’s clothing, Putz covered him with a curtain from the wreckage and then, after a struggle, succeeded in freeing Minor. Grasping him about the arms, Putz pulled Minor out of the truck and dragged him to safety moments before flames increased in the cab. Minor required extensive hospitalization for treatment of severe burns. Putz recovered from a slight burn to one hand.
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Kurt James Johnson
Kurt James Johnson saved Destineé N. Davis from burning, Pastoria, Virginia, February 6, 2009. Destineé, 3, was a passenger in a car that, at night, left the highway, overturned onto its roof, and caught fire. Her mother escaped the wreckage with two other children. On routine patrol nearby, Johnson, 43, state police trooper, responded to the scene on seeing flames there. Alerted by her mother that Destineé remained in the vehicle, Johnson used his fire extinguisher against flames that issued from the vehicle’s exposed underside and engine area. With flames persisting, being fed by leaking gasoline, Johnson then opened the rear door on the passenger side of the vehicle. Although the passenger compartment was filled with dense smoke that precluded visibility, he crawled inside and maneuvered to the front. Finding Destineé under the dashboard, he grasped her by her jacket and hugged her to himself. He maneuvered back to the opened door and exited the car. Flames spread throughout the vehicle. Destineé was hospitalized for treatment of her injuries, and she recovered. Johnson also required hospital treatment, for smoke inhalation, and he too recovered.
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Elizabeth M. Kelley
Elizabeth M. Kelley rescued Karen L. Kinsey from assault, Peoria, Illinois, December 17, 2007. Kinsey, 50, was loading the back of her sport utility vehicle, which was in the parking lot of a mall, when a man approached from behind and attacked her. Kinsey fought back and shouted for help as the assailant punched her in the face, taking her to the pavement. Kelley, 26, social worker, had just left the mall when she heard Kinsey’s screams. She ran to the scene as the assailant took Kinsey’s keys from her purse and entered the vehicle. Kelley approached Kinsey and pulled her from behind the vehicle as the assailant quickly backed it from its space, striking another car forcefully as he did so. The women sought safety between other parked cars as the assailant drove from the scene. He was later apprehended by police. Kinsey was taken to the hospital, where she was treated for a fractured nose and contusions. She recovered.
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Timothy B. Haas, deceased
Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Timothy B. Haas died after helping to rescue Bruce M. Haas from suffocation, Chagrin Falls, Ohio, May 30, 2008, and Paul Haas helped attempt to rescue Timothy. Bruce, 49, became disoriented by fumes while inside the 20,000-gallon, aboveground gasoline storage tank that he was cleaning. His son, Timothy, 17, high school student, was working with him on the job and was atop the tank with another worker. When they saw Bruce’s affected state and called to him, Timothy without hesitation entered the tank through a small opening in its top and descended to its floor. He grasped Bruce and with difficulty aided him up the ladder toward the opening, where the other worker helped Bruce leave the tank. Timothy then collapsed in the tank. As the other worker shouted for help to Timothy’s brother Paul, 19, laborer, who was nearby, Bruce re-entered the tank for Timothy. Paul then entered the tank, and together he and Bruce attempted to lift Timothy. Paul collapsed. Responding rescue personnel removed all three men from the tank. Bruce and Paul required hospital treatment for their injuries, Paul being detained 19 days for treatment of extensive chemical burns and respiratory distress. Timothy died at the scene of asphyxia.
81293-9311 / 82439-9312
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Michael Allen Hill
Jason Wayne Spencer
Columbia City, Indiana
Michael Allen Hill and Jason Wayne Spencer helped to save Lauren M. Coffee from burning, Columbia City, Indiana, February 21, 2008. Coffee, 18, was the driver of a four-door automobile that, at night, left a snowy highway at a bridge, went down a steep embankment, and came to rest on its roof in a creek about three feet deep. At some point, flames broke out on the vehicle. Hill, 44, farmer, drove upon the scene and discovered the accident. After reporting it, he descended the embankment to the car and saw Coffee’s arm extended through the window of the driver’s door. Despite flames issuing from the exposed underside of the vehicle, Hill, standing partially in the creek, reached his upper body through the window and grasped Coffee. He pulled her partially from the vehicle. Spencer, 35, deputy sheriff, arrived about then and emptied a fire extinguisher on the flames. He assisted in removing Coffee from the vehicle and in carrying her through the creek with others as something on the car exploded. Because the embankment was steep and icy, the men carried her to a point underneath the bridge, where they rested briefly as smoke from the fire hung in the air there. Another explosion at the vehicle occurred. Other responders carried Coffee back to the level of the highway, and she was taken to the hospital for treatment of her injuries. Hill also received hospital treatment, for smoke inhalation, and Spencer was given oxygen at the scene for inhaling smoke. They recovered.
81744-9313 / 81745-9314
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Marc C. Moore
Mark C. Moore and Dalton Lewand helped to save Eleanor P. and John D. Cameron from burning, Tallahassee, Florida, July 5, 2008. Eleanor, 67, was the passenger in a hatchback automobile that was being driven by her husband John, 73, when it was broadsided in an intersection. The force of the impact caused the car’s fuel tank to rupture, and the car burst into flame at its rear, with flames then spreading through the car’s interior. Motorists, including Moore, 48, physician, witnessed the accident. He ran to the passenger side of the burning car and with another man reached inside, grasped Eleanor, who was unconscious, and removed her from the vehicle. After they carried her to safety, Moore returned to the vehicle. Meanwhile, Lewand, 34, assistant chief engineer, had responded to the driver’s side of the burning car after he too witnessed the accident. He opened the driver’s door, unfastened John’s safety belt, and, with Moore, grasped John, who was dazed, and pulled him from the vehicle. They took him to safety as flames in the interior of the car were reaching the front seats. When firefighters arrived within minutes, the car was engulfed by flames. Eleanor and John required hospital treatment for their injuries, but they were not burned.
81263-9315 / 81546-9316
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Derek C. Merman
Lake Grove, New York
Derek C. Merman attempted to save Gardy Pierre-Jacques from drowning, Hampton Bays, New York, July 25, 2008. While standing in wadable water near shore at an Atlantic Ocean beach, Pierre-Jacques, 25, was overtaken by a wave and carried farther out by a strong current. He called for help. Merman, 18, construction worker, was on the beach in the vicinity and was alerted to the situation. Although he could not then see Pierre-Jacques, Merman immediately entered the water with his short surfboard and paddled out. He found Pierre-Jacques at a point about 300 feet from shore, unresponsive and nearly submerged. Merman positioned him on his board and started to swim toward shore, towing him. About halfway in, they became caught in a rip current, which Merman escaped by swimming parallel with the beach. He resumed swimming toward shore and with effort reached wadable water, where others took Pierre-Jacques to the beach and attempted to revive him. Pierre-Jacques was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Merman was tired, but he recovered.
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James P. McCaskey
James P. McCaskey helped to save George S. McLain, Sr., and George S. McLain, Jr., from drowning, Pensacola, Florida, July 22, 2008. While in wadable water of the Gulf of Mexico, McLain, 47, was knocked down by a wave and then carried seaward by a strong current. His son, George, 17, swam to him with a short surfboard. Both mounted the board but were unable to make progress toward shore. On the beach, McCaskey, 42, vacationing firefighter, became aware of the situation. Towing a short surfboard, he swam out to McLain and his son and placed McLain, who was nearly exhausted, on it. Making little if any progress against the current and overtaking waves, McCaskey kept McLain’s head out of the water until two lifeguards responded from shore. Using rescue aids for McLain and George, the lifeguards and McCaskey struggled to swim from the current, towing them. They reached shore safely. McLain and George required hospital treatment, McLain for having nearly drowned. McCaskey was fatigued, but he recovered.
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Richard Shawn Harper
Fort Worth, Texas
Richard Shawn Harper helped to save Brittany L. Williams from drowning, Richland Hills, Texas, March 13, 2009. Brittany, 9, entered a concrete-lined drainage ditch and was swept by the swift water it carried into a belowground chamber, from which the water flowed into a large culvert. Harper, 38, sales associate, was in a vehicle that was passing through the vicinity when he was alerted to the accident. He entered the ditch, proceeded toward the chamber, and then slid into it. Bracing himself with his feet against the chamber wall to the side of the culvert, Harper grasped Brittany and held her against his chest, thereby protecting her from the onrushing water. After holding to Brittany for several minutes in the 55-degree water, arriving firefighters lowered a ladder and one end of a line to them. They removed Brittany from the chamber and then Harper. Both were taken to the hospital for treatment of hypothermia, and they recovered.
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Ellenboro, North Carolina
Joshua A. Bumgarner
Bostic, North Carolina
Brandon Rothrock and Joshua A. Bumgarner rescued Mamie T. Gumbs from burning, Forest City, North Carolina, March 19, 2009. In the middle of the night, Gumbs, 80, was in her bedroom after fire erupted in the adjoining living room and grew significantly. A police officer, Rothrock, 25, was driving by when he saw smoke and fire issuing from the residence. He reported the fire and then, opening the living room door, heard Gumbs yelling for help. Widespread flames made entry through the living room impossible. Joined by another officer, Bumgarner, 23, Rothrock gained access to the residence through another door, which opened to a hall leading to Gumbs’s bedroom. Rothrock entered the structure and crawled to the bedroom doorway, where he saw Gumbs lying on the floor. Dense smoke and intense heat were intolerable, forcing him from the building. Bumgarner then entered the structure and proceeded through the hall, but he too was nearly overcome by conditions and retreated. Entering a second time, Rothrock ran into the bedroom, which was aflame. He grasped Gumbs and pulled her to the bedroom doorway before having to retreat again. After Bumgarner re-entered the structure and pulled Gumbs closer to the door, Rothrock joined him in re-entering again, and they pulled Gumbs outside to safety. Gumbs required hospitalization for treatment of severe burns.
82102-9320 / 82103-9321
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Walter M. Gannon
Walter M. Gannon rescued Carolyn E. Gilbert from assault, Elgin, Illinois, January 18, 2008. Gilbert, 50, was in her high school classroom when a 16-year-old boy who had been in the room with her approached her from behind, put a coat over her head, and stabbed her in the eye. The assailant took her to the floor, where he continued to stab her. Gilbert’s screams attracted the attention of Gannon, 55, a teacher who was in an adjoining classroom. Gannon responded to the door of Gilbert’s room and saw the assailant atop her. Entering the room, Gannon shouted at the assailant to get off Gilbert. The assailant stood, dropped the knife, and stepped back. Gannon stood between Gilbert and the assailant as Gilbert regained her footing and fled the room. Ordering the assailant to sit at a desk, Gannon alerted the school office and then remained at the classroom door to keep him from leaving. The assailant was shortly arrested. Gilbert was hospitalized for treatment of serious knife wounds.
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Rolando Campuzano, Sr., deceased
Warm Springs, Oregon
Rolando Campuzano, Sr., died attempting to save Rolando Campuzano, Jr., from burning, Warm Springs, Oregon, January 14, 2009. Rolando, 4, was with his parents in their bedroom of the family’s one-story house after fire erupted in the living room at night. Alerted to the fire, the parents attempted to extinguish it and then fled the structure with four other children. A police officer responded, at which time the parents discovered Rolando’s absence. Campuzano, 26, cook, immediately ran to the house as the officer attempted to restrain him. He entered through the front door into the burning living room and disappeared from view. Firefighters later recovered the bodies of Rolando and his father from the house, both victims of smoke inhalation.
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Allen Chadwick Harris
Allen Chadwick Harris saved Calvin E. Coleman from burning, Nashville, Tennessee, January 28, 2009. Calvin, 3, was asleep in a first-floor bedroom of his family’s house after fire broke out in a nearby bedroom and filled the floor with dense smoke. A neighbor, Harris, 24, musician, was returning home when he came upon the fire. Learning from Calvin’s family members that Calvin was still in the house, Harris attempted entry through the front door but was repelled by the smoke. He then approached a window of the room in which Calvin was sleeping and with others broke it out. Boosted up to the window by the others, Harris climbed through it and entered the smoke-filled room. Going to his hands and knees and keeping his eyes closed against the smoke and heat, Harris searched the room for Calvin, having to retreat to the window for air repeatedly. On hearing Calvin moan, Harris penetrated the room farther and found him on the floor. Harris picked him up and, momentarily disoriented, crawled back to the window. He handed Calvin out to the others and then crawled outside the window to safety. Calvin was hospitalized for treatment of smoke inhalation, and Harris also received hospital treatment for smoke inhalation. They recovered.
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Derek J. Creel
Derek J. Creel saved Trenton S. and attempted to save Timothy W. Sigafoose from drowning, Warrior, Alabama, March 27, 2009. Trenton, 7, and his father, Sigafoose, 42, were thrown into the cold and swift-flowing water of the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River when their canoe capsized shortly after launching. They held to the overturned 14-foot craft as it was swept downstream. Creel, 19, server assistant, was fishing from the bank and witnessed the accident. He ran along the bank to a point ahead of the canoe and then entered the 54-degree water, swam out to the middle of the river, and intercepted it. Creel grasped one end of the canoe and attempted to tow it to the bank, but the current overcame his efforts, and the canoe continued downstream. As Sigafoose was losing consciousness, Creel held him to the canoe and attempted to rouse him. A tree protruding from the bank into the river came into view after the canoe traveled about three-quarters of a mile downstream. Creel took the canoe into the tree, but the impact forced him under water. Surfacing, he placed Trenton into a fork of the tree and then maintained a hold of Sigafoose, who was unresponsive, for as long as he could. Creel joined Trenton in the tree to await help. Firefighters responded by boat and removed both to safety. Creel was nearly exhausted after the rescue, and he sustained scrapes and contusions. He recovered. Sigafoose’s body was found in the river four days after the accident.
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Krista D. Girvan
Krista D. Girvan saved a girl from drowning, Edmonton, Alberta, July 17, 2008. A teenaged girl wading along the bank of the North Saskatchewan River entered water beyond her depth and was carried downstream by a swift current. She tired in her attempts to return to the bank. Girvan, 25, nursing student, was walking along the bank in that vicinity when she heard cries for help and then saw the girl in the river. Telling others nearby to call for help, Girvan ran along the bank after the girl. When she saw that the girl was having trouble staying afloat, Girvan concluded there was not enough time for rescuers to arrive. She removed her shoes, entered the river, and swam to the girl. She grasped her and, despite her training as a lifeguard, struggled against the current as she towed her to the bank, the current taking them several hundred feet downstream. Rescue personnel aided them from the water and provided treatment. Girvan was fatigued, but she recovered.
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Kim R. Grove
Pilot Mound, Iowa
Kim R. Grove saved Breck A. Clark from drowning, Pilot Mound, Iowa, February 22, 2009. Clark, 58, was the driver of a car that entered the Des Moines River, floated briefly, and then sank at a point about 100 feet from the bank. Grove, 45, fusion technician, lived along the bank in that vicinity and responded to the scene after hearing the accident. He saw the car before it sank and saw that it was occupied. After leaving to report the accident, he returned to the river, which was icy and swift, entered it, and swam toward where he had last seen the car. He then saw Clark’s head resurface about 50 feet away. Grove swam to him, secured a hold on him, and kicked toward the bank. When they reached wadable water, Grove’s son aided in removing Clark from the river. They then took Clark to Grove’s residence, where they warmed him.
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