PITTSBURGH, PA, FEBRUARY 25, 1999—In its first award announcement of 1999, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 18 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 8,257 the total number of awards made since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904.
Commission President Robert W. Off stated that each of the awardees or their survivors will receive also a grant of $3,000. Throughout the 95 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $23.3 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.
The awardees are:
- Margaret Hankes, Saint Paul, Minn.
- Chester E. Hoyt, Jr., Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
- Robert Douglas Johnston, Brooklin, Ont.
- Arjuna D. N. Babapulle, deceased, Santa Clara, Calif.
- Robert Dummer, Holmen, Wisc.
- David Louis Sestak, Hermosa Beach, Calif.
- Catalina K. Meyer, deceased, New York, N.Y.
- Manuel J. Trombley, Providence, R.I.
- Harmon Ray Block, Jr., Port Neches, Texas
- Stanley Hugh Davis, Port Neches, Texas
- Marc A. Dilley, Wenatchee, Wash.
- Margareta E. Dilley, Wenatchee, Wash.
- Douglas Howard Schlegel, Bath, Pa.
- Carl Dean Brewer, Hillsboro, Ind.
- James R. Munro, Bothwell, Ont.
- Gerard Jansen, Guelph, Ont.
- Sylvia L. Brown, deceased, Sebago Lake, Maine
- Lisa Raymond, Sidney, Ill.
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
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Margaret Hankes rescued Kaye J. Peterson from an attacking dog, Saint Paul, Minnesota, April 24, 1998. Ms. Peterson, 42, was raking her back yard when a 40-pound, male pit bull dog broke free of its tether in the adjoining yard, approached Ms. Peterson, and attacked her. The dog locked onto Ms. Peterson’s right arm, and when she fought it off, it bit her about the feet, took her to the ground, and continued to maul her, viciously. Ms. Peterson screamed for help. Ms. Hankes, 52, teacher, who lived across the street, heard Ms. Peterson’s screams and responded to the scene with an aluminum ball bat. She approached the dog and struck it with the bat several times. The dog released Ms. Peterson and left the scene but was later captured. Ms. Peterson was hospitalized four days for treatment, including surgery, of numerous bite wounds, including serious ones to an arm and leg.
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Chester E. Hoyt, Jr.
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Chester E. Hoyt, Jr., rescued Mary H. Averill from burning, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, December 14, 1997. Ms. Averill, 87, who used a wheelchair, was inside her house after fire erupted in a corner of the living room. A neighbor, Hoyt, 33, an off-duty firefighter, saw smoke issuing from the house and, investigating, discovered the fire. After reporting it, he responded to the front door of the burning house and, despite dense, black smoke and intense heat inside, entered the living room. As visibility was nil, he crawled along one wall, then turned and began to crawl along another in search of Ms. Averill. Bumping into Ms. Averill in the opposite end of the room, Hoyt pulled her to the floor, then dragged her to the front door and outside to safety. Ms. Averill was hospitalized for treatment of smoke inhalation and burns but succumbed to her injuries three days later. Hoyt was treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation, from which he recovered.
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Robert Douglas Johnston
Robert Douglas Johnston saved Richard J. Kachmar from drowning, London, Ontario, February 21, 1998. Richard, 11, and two other boys were walking on ice-covered North Pond when the ice gave way, causing Richard and one of the other boys to fall into water more than six feet deep at a point about 50 feet from the nearest bank. Johnston, 47, chiropractor, was walking his dog on that bank when he saw the boys fall through. Taking a branch with him, Johnston walked onto the ice toward Richard and extended the branch to him. Weakened by the cold, Richard was unable to grasp it. Johnston then lay on his stomach and moved closer to Richard, but the ice beneath him broke and he too fell into the water. In an attempt to push Richard out of the water, Johnston was submerged briefly under solid ice, but he freed himself, moved to Richard, who was still in open water, and grasped him. Requiring repeated attempts, Johnston pulled himself onto the ice, then pulled Richard out of the water. He carried Richard off the pond, then to a nearby home. Both were cold and tired, but they recovered. The other boy who had fallen through the ice escaped to safety.
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Arjuna D. N. Babapulle, deceased
Santa Clara, California
Arjuna D. N. Babapulle died helping to save Juanita Babapulle from drowning, Yosemite National Park, California, October 18, 1997. Ms. Babapulle, 22, was at the edge of Emerald Pool of the Merced River while hiking when she slipped into the very cold water and could not regain her footing. Attempting to reach her, her husband, Babapulle, 29, electrical engineer, entered the pool. A nonswimmer, Babapulle grasped his wife and pushed her toward the bank but then ended up farther from it, where he struggled to stay afloat in deep water. Others at the scene pulled Ms. Babapulle from the water by means of a rope. They attempted to rescue Babapulle in like fashion, but he submerged. He was removed from the water several minutes later but could not be revived; he drowned. Ms. Babapulle recovered from scratches and bruises.
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Robert Dummer saved Arlen P. Arttus from drowning, Trempealeau, Wisconsin, February 21, 1998. Arttus, 57, was ice fishing on Third Lake when the ice beneath him gave way and he fell into water about seven feet deep. He struggled in the cold water and called for help. Also fishing on the lake, Dummer, 39, farmer, and his son saw Arttus fall in. Dummer ran, then walked, toward Arttus then extended a tree branch toward him. Suddenly the ice beneath Dummer sagged, and Dummer was partially submerged. He moved onto firmer ice, from where he threw a line to Arttus then pulled him out of the open water. Dummer put Arttus onto a sled and, with his son, pulled him to the bank. Arttus required hospital treatment for hypothermia, and he recovered.
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David Louis Sestak
Hermosa Beach, California
David Louis Sestak saved Alexander Popoff from drowning, West Sacramento, California, January 14, 1998. After his automobile left the highway, entered the rain-swollen Sacramento River, and submerged, Popoff, 70, freed himself through the driver’s window and surfaced, dazed. Another motorist, Sestak, 37, construction manager, saw the accident. He stopped at the scene and descended to the bank of the river, which, carrying debris, was flowing swiftly. Concluding that there was no time even to remove his boots, Sestak entered the very cold water and swam about 50 feet to Popoff, who had submerged again. He grasped Popoff with one hand and, using the other, swam back toward the bank as the current carried them downstream. Nearing the bank, Sestak snagged on a submerged branch, but he freed himself. Popoff then clung to a submerged tree about 10 feet from the waterline as Sestak obtained a branch from the bank. He extended the branch to Popoff and pulled him to the bank and out of the river. Popoff required hospital treatment for minor injury, from which he recovered.
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Catalina K. Meyer, deceased
New York, New York
Catalina K. Meyer died after saving Ketevan Alexi-Meskhishvili and attempting to rescue Zahra Lahrizi from burning, New York, New York, December 17, 1997. Houseguests Ms. Alexi-Meskhishvili, 18, and Ms. Lahrizi, 48, were on the fourth and fifth floors, respectively, of a five-story townhouse when, at night, fire broke out on the third floor and spread to the upper floors. Ms. Meyer, 60, retired stockbroker, and her husband, owners of the house, were asleep on the third floor when they awakened to the blaze. Ms. Meyer reported the fire but did not then flee the burning structure. She was heard on the fourth floor, by Ms. Alexi-Meskhishvili, screaming of the fire; the screams had awakened Ms. Alexi-Meskhishvili, enabling her to flee by way of a fire escape. With flame conditions rapidly escalating, Ms. Meyer and Ms. Lahrizi were seen falling from a fourth-floor window. Badly burned, they incurred fatal injury. Ms. Alexi-Meskhishvili sustained smoke inhalation, from which she recovered. Ms. Meyer’s husband and others in the house escaped to safety.
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Manuel J. Trombley
North Providence, Rhode Island
Manuel J. Trombley saved Janice Pharmakis from burning, North Providence, Rhode Island, March 7, 1998. Ms. Pharmakis, 64, was in a bedroom of her one-story house after fire broke out in the living room. A neighbor, Trombley, 47, laboratory manager, was alerted to the fire and immediately responded to the scene. He entered the smoke-filled house through a side door, which opened into the kitchen, and called to Ms. Pharmakis, thereby learning her location. Despite flames spreading to the ceilings of the kitchen and hall, Trombley crawled through the kitchen and down the hall to Ms. Pharmakis’s bedroom. He found Ms. Pharmakis at the window, attempting to open a storm window. Trombley opened the storm window, then grasped Ms. Pharmakis and lowered her through the window to the ground. Trombley then exited the house through the window. Ms. Pharmakis and Trombley both required hospital treatment for smoke inhalation, Trombley being detained overnight. They recovered.
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Harmon Ray Block, Jr.
Port Neches, Texas
Stanley Hugh Davis
Port Neches, Texas
Harmon Ray Block, Jr., and Stanley Hugh Davis rescued Clyde E. Allison from an attacking bull, Port Neches, Texas, October 12, 1997. Allison, 67, was in a pen herding free-range cattle onto a river barge when he was knocked to the ground and gored by a three-year-old bull weighing 1,000 pounds. Assisting with the job, Block, 40, carpenter, and Davis, 34, refinery operator and cattleman, were seated atop the fence that enclosed the pen. They immediately jumped into the pen. Block approached the bull from behind, then kicked and struck it. Distracted, the bull ceased its attack on Allison and chased Block. As Block and the bull circled the pen, Davis aided Allison to his feet, then climbed with him over the fence to safety. Block too climbed the fence to safety as the bull butted him. Allison was hospitalized overnight for treatment of severe wounds that required more than 200 stitches. He recovered.
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Marc A. Dilley
Margareta E. Dilley
Marc A. and Margareta E. Dilley saved Wendy S. Roberts from burning, Skykomish, Washington, March 14, 1998. Ms. Roberts, 52, was trapped inside the sport utility vehicle she had been driving after the vehicle left the roadway, went down an embankment, and, overturned, broke into flame. Marc Dilley, 46, research technologist, witnessed the accident while he and his wife Margareta, 48, nuclear medicine technologist, were passengers in another vehicle, which then stopped at the scene. Marc and Margareta immediately responded to Ms. Roberts’s vehicle, which supported flames from its engine compartment and from which gasoline was pouring from the filler opening on the driver’s side. Marc opened the driver’s door and cut Ms. Roberts’s safety belt with a pocketknife. Ms. Roberts dropped to the ceiling of the vehicle. Marc and Margareta then reached into the vehicle, grasped Ms. Roberts, and pulled her out. They dragged her away from the vehicle moments before a major eruption of flame at the vehicle that then engulfed it. Ms. Roberts was treated at the hospital for lacerations and bruises, from which she recovered.
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Douglas Howard Schlegel
Douglas Howard Schlegel helped to rescue Walter J. Macaulay, Jr., from burning, Easton, Pennsylvania, March 14, 1997. Macaulay, 58, was in a bedroom on the second floor of his three-story duplex after fire broke out in the living room on the first floor, at night. Police officers, including Schlegel, 37, responded to the scene. Told that Macaulay and others remained inside the unit, Schlegel entered through the front door, crossed the burning living room, then, from the dining room, ascended the stairs to the second floor, where dense smoke precluded visibility. Hearing Macaulay, Schlegel moved through a hall toward the sound of his voice. As flame conditions worsened, Schlegel and Macaulay proceeded to the head of the stairs but in their attempt to flee the burning building fell down the stairs to the first floor. Two other police officers, meanwhile, entered the unit through the back door. With flames spreading into the dining room, the other officers found Macaulay and Schlegel and helped them exit the unit through the back door. Their escape from the premises was further hampered by flames issuing from the building’s first-floor windows, requiring them to tear down a fence at the front of the property. Macaulay was hospitalized for treatment of smoke inhalation and first- and second-degree burns. Schlegel was treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation and minor burns. They recovered.
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Carl Dean Brewer
Carl Dean Brewer saved Jacqueline M. Covault and Kelsey R. Gross from burning, Hillsboro, Indiana, December 7, 1997. Jacqueline, 6, and her cousin, Kelsey, 7, were asleep in a first-floor bedroom of Jacqueline’s family’s two-story house when fire erupted in the enclosed front porch and spread, sending dense smoke throughout the floor. Discovering the fire, Jacqueline’s mother attempted without success to locate the girls. Brewer, 57, mechanic, was driving past the house when he saw that it was on fire. He stopped and learned from Jacqueline’s mother that the girls remained inside. Brewer entered the house through its back door. Despite the dense smoke, which obscured visibility, he crawled across the kitchen, then entered an adjoining bedroom, where he found one of the girls. Retracing his steps, he found the second girl at the doorway to the kitchen. Brewer then stood and, carrying both girls, continued to the back door and outside to safety. Both girls were hospitalized for treatment of smoke inhalation, and they recovered.
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James R. Munro
James R. Munro and Gerard Jansen rescued Nancy J. Kozlovic from burning, Guelph, Ontario, June 24, 1998. Ms. Kozlovic, 45, was the pilot of a small airplane that, during a landing attempt, crashed into the yard of a residence and caught fire. Unable to remove her seat belt, she was trapped in the wreckage, on which flames were spreading quickly. Munro, 54, farmer, was approaching the scene in a taxi and arrived just after the crash. He ran to the right side of the plane and, stepping beneath the wing, where the plane’s fuel tanks were located, reached through the opened door into the cockpit. Despite flames by then inside the plane, Munro made repeated attempts to release Ms. Kozlovic’s seat belt. Working inside the residence, Jansen, 66, retired farmer, also responded to the scene. He too ran to a point beneath the wing on the right side of the plane and reached through the opened door. He grasped Ms. Kozlovic by the arm and, pulling forcefully, removed her from the plane to the ground. Munro and Jansen extinguished flames on Ms. Kozlovic, who then walked away from the wreckage as the cockpit was engulfed by flame. She was taken to the hospital, where she was detained several weeks for treatment of severe burns.
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Sylvia L. Brown, deceased
Sebago Lake, Maine
Sylvia L. Brown died after attempting to save Mildred A. Massello from drowning, Sebago Lake, Maine, June 25, 1998. Ms. Massello, 85, was swimming in Sebago Lake as two of her friends, Ms. Brown, 54, disabled housekeeper, and another woman, watched from the bank. When it appeared to the friends that Ms. Massello was having difficulty in the water, they called to her but received no response. Ms. Brown waded into the lake as the other woman left the scene to alert help. When she returned, she found both Ms. Massello and Ms. Brown floating face down in the water. They were recovered from the lake shortly by a man who had been passing by. He and others performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on both women, who were then taken to the hospital. Ms. Brown died later that day, of drowning, and Ms. Massello died the next day, also of drowning.
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Lisa Raymond helped to save Haleigh N. Akers and Harley M. and Heather A. Garrett from burning, Sidney, Illinois, December 19, 1997. Sisters Haleigh, 8; Harley, 6, and Heather, 5, were inside their
family’s two-story house when fire erupted on the first floor, in the living room. Their mother learned of the fire, then told the girls to leave the house during the confusion which ensued as she struggled to open the back door. The mother then fled the house. Ms. Raymond, 34, registered nurse, who lived across the street, was alerted to the fire. She went to the scene and learned that the girls were unaccounted for. Believing that they remained inside the house, Ms. Raymond entered the burning living room through the front door and, with visibility diminished because of dense smoke, crawled partially across the room. Hearing children crying, Ms. Raymond called to the girls to exit the house through the back door. Ms. Raymond then turned and left the house through the front door. The girls escaped unharmed to safety.
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