PITTSBURGH, PA, JULY 1, 2004—In its third award announcement of 2004, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 23 individuals as recipients of the CARNEGIE MEDAL. The bronze medal is given to those throughout the United States and Canada 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 59 the number of persons who have been recognized by the Commission in 2004 to date and to 8,823 the total number since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission President Mark Laskow stated that each of the awardees or their survivors also will receive a grant of $3,500. Throughout the 100 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $27.1 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.
The awardees are:
- Gary D. Shelton, Yakima, Wash.
- Mark A. Potter, Canaan, Maine
- David Lee Custer, Parkman, Maine
- Richard P. Moten, Escondido, Calif.
- Sean Christopher, Hough Lake in the Hills, Ill.
- Lawrence Gonzi, Rancho Cordova, Calif.
- Olga Reneé Rosander, Elk Grove, Calif.
- Patrick J. Cromwell, Eugene, Ore.
- Tracy J. Olson, Largo, Fla.
- Jupp O. Norhausen, Port Orange, Fla.
- Kenyon D. Brindley, deceased, Conway, Ark.
- C. James Rospert, Bellevue, Ohio
- James Paul Goebel, Jr., San Diego, Calif.
- William J. Lum, Summit, N.Y.
- Christopher Oikle, Warren, N.H.
- Rodney Paul Shunta, Muskegon, Mich.
- Phillip Fiorentino, Massapequa, N.Y.
- Ronald J. Gross, York, Pa.
- Ryan C. Lane, Lawrence, Kans.
- Albert A. Larsen, deceased, Fort Worth, Texas
- Raymond F. Ives, deceased, Oceanside, Calif.
- Jeremy F. Tessler, Carlsbad, Calif.
- Jeremy Vigil, Ramona, Calif.
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
Gary D. Shelton
Gary D. Shelton saved Willie M. Davis from burning, Yakima, Washington, February 18, 2003. Ms. Davis, 64, was seated in the living room of her one-story house after fire erupted in an adjoining bedroom. Thick smoke filled the living room. Shelton, 46, backhoe operator, and three coworkers were traveling through the neighborhood and, seeing smoke issue from the roof of the house, discovered the fire. They responded to the structure, where Shelton opened the front door and entered. Although the smoke precluded visibility, Shelton crawled through the living room. Catching a glimpse of Ms. Davis’s ankle, he grasped her and pulled her to the floor, then crawled back to the front door, dragging her. One of his coworkers helped remove her from the house. Ms. Davis was hospitalized more than a week for treatment of smoke inhalation, and she recovered. Her husband was rescued by firefighters but did not long survive.
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Mark A. Potter
David Lee Custer
Mark A. Potter saved Lindsey M. Ryder and with David Lee Custer saved Evan J. Moody from burning, Canaan, Maine, September 3, 2003. Ms. Ryder, 22, was the driver of a car that left the roadway, went part way down an embankment, and came to rest on its passenger side against small trees, flames breaking out at its front end. She was trapped in the car, as was her son, Evan, 3, who remained restrained in a safety seat in the back-seat area. Potter, 42, dental equipment technician who lived nearby, heard the accident and ran to the scene. He mounted the vehicle to its driver’s side and opened the driver’s door, then reached inside, grasped Ms. Ryder, and pulled her out. Despite growing flames and intensifying smoke in the car’s interior, Potter entered the car completely and worked to free Evan from his seat. Flagged down while passing by, Custer, 45, courier, had responded to the car by then, and he too mounted its driver’s side, where he held the driver’s door open. Using a knife provided by a bystander, Potter cut the straps of Evan’s seat, Custer partially entering the car to assist. Thus freed, Evan was passed outside the car by Custer to Ms. Ryder. Custer then aided Potter, who was nearly exhausted, from the car, and they, along with Ms. Ryder and Evan, returned up the embankment to safety. Spreading flames virtually engulfed the car shortly. Ms. Ryder and Evan were treated at the hospital for bruises, and they recovered. Potter and Custer sustained minor smoke inhalation, from which they recovered.
77138-8802 / 77137-8803
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Richard P. Moten
Richard P. Moten saved Jon Stanger from suffocation, Escondido, California, February 11, 2003. At work on an equipment upgrade, Stanger, 35, was overcome and lay unconscious at the bottom of an underground sump, which was above a gasoline storage tank on the premises of a convenience store. Atmosphere in the sump was deficient in oxygen, and gasoline fumes there were at an explosive level. A customer in the store, Moten, 50, plumber, was alerted to the situation. He immediately responded to the sump’s ground-level opening, from where he saw Stanger and detected fumes. Moten then dropped about six feet to the bottom of the confined space and grasped Stanger. He found a foothold about two feet above the sump’s floor and used that as he hoisted Stanger up to others at ground level. They pulled Stanger from the sump, then aided Moten out. Stanger revived at the scene but was taken to the hospital for observation. Moten was given oxygen at the scene then also was taken to the hospital for observation. They recovered.
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Sean Christopher Hough
Lake in the Hills, Illinois
Sean Christopher Hough helped to rescue a boy from burning, McHenry, Illinois, May 15, 2003. At night, a one-year-old boy was in his crib in a bedroom on the upper level of his family’s house after fire broke out in a room on the main level and spread. Hough, 31, teacher, then a neighbor, was alerted to the fire and immediately responded to the scene. By mounting the railing of a deck, then a ladder, he and another neighbor who had responded were able to reach the window to the boy’s room. They broke out the window, then, using a T-shirt to cover his lower face, Hough entered the smoke-filled room and searched for the boy by feeling his way along the walls. After locating the boy in the crib, Hough picked him up and carried him to the window. He leaned through the window and dropped the boy to the arms of the other neighbor. Hough then exited the house through the window and descended to safety on the ladder. Flames spread quickly through much of the house. Hough and the boy were taken to the hospital, where they were treated for smoke inhalation, and Hough for minor cuts and bruises. They recovered.
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Rancho Cordova, California
Olga Reneé Rosander
Elk Grove, California
Lawrence Gonzi and Olga Reneé Rosander saved Clifford M. Gandy from burning, Elk Grove, California, June 25, 2003. Gandy, 70, was unconscious in the driver’s seat of a pickup truck after an accident in which the truck struck two parked vehicles, then crossed a lawn and struck a one-story residence. The truck was partially embedded in the residence, one of the other vehicles ending up on the lawn just a few feet away. A gas line at the residence was severed in the accident, and escaping gas under pressure caught fire, flames spreading to the truck and the residence. Neighbors, including Gonzi, 53, real estate broker and general contractor, and Ms. Rosander, 48, custodial supervisor, heard the crash and responded to the scene. Making his way between the wrecked vehicles, Gonzi went to the driver’s door of the truck and opened it, despite the truck’s positioning over the burning gas line. Unable to release Gandy’s safety belt, Gonzi shouted for a knife, and one was handed to him. He cut the belt and, with difficulty, pulled Gandy from the cab, Ms. Rosander, barefoot, arriving to pull on Gonzi as he did so. Gonzi and Ms. Rosander then dragged Gandy from between the vehicles and to a point of safety across the street. Flames grew quickly on the truck and in the residence. Gandy was taken to the hospital for observation, and Ms. Rosander required hospital treatment for a cut to one foot, from which she recovered.
76998-8806 / 76999-8807
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Patrick J. Cromwell
Patrick J. Cromwell rescued Kathy A. Muñoz from burning, Veneta, Oregon, March 25, 2003. Ms. Muñoz, 38, was the driver of a sport utility vehicle that, after a highway accident, entered the parking lot of a tire shop, knocking down an electric power pole and striking a truck parked in the lot. Both Ms. Muñoz’s vehicle and the truck, in close proximity to each other, caught fire. Conscious but dazed, Ms. Muñoz remained in the driver’s seat. Cromwell, 31, chief mechanic at the tire shop, witnessed the accident and responded to the scene with a fire extinguisher, as did others from the shop. He stepped to a point between the burning vehicles and emptied the contents of his extinguisher into Ms. Muñoz’s vehicle through the shattered driver’s window. Cromwell then approached that vehicle’s passenger door and leaned inside. He grasped Ms. Muñoz, pulled her from the vehicle, and took her to safety. Ms. Muñoz required hospitalization for treatment of her burns, some severe. Cromwell received a small burn on his neck, and he recovered.
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Tracy J. Olson
Tracy J. Olson saved Ann P. Adamski from drowning, Port Richey, Florida, May 7, 2003. Ms. Adamski, 87, was the driver of a car that left the roadway, entered a canal, and began to sink nose first in water nine feet deep at a point about 20 feet from the bank. Olson, 41, laborer, witnessed the accident from his home on that bank. After reporting it, he responded to the canal, taking a hammer with him. Despite his limited swimming ability, Olson waded and dog-paddled to the car, then, using the hammer, broke out the rear window on its driver’s side. He entered the car partially, head first, and released Ms. Adamski’s safety belt, then withdrew. Ms. Adamski crawled onto the back-seat area, the car sinking more quickly by its taking in water through the broken window. Olson pulled Ms. Adamski from the car. A brief struggle ensued, during which Olson submerged. Resurfacing, he pushed Ms. Adamski, also a poor swimmer, toward the bank. When they reached wadable water, another man helped to remove Ms. Adamski from the canal. She was shaken but sustained only minor cuts, from which she recovered.
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Jupp O. Norhausen
Port Orange, Florida
Jupp O. Norhausen rescued a woman from burning, Port Orange, Florida, May 12, 2003. A 47-year-old woman was in the bathroom of her rented, one-story home as fires burned in both its living room and kitchen. From his house on the same property, her landlord, Norhausen, 53, electrical engineer, discovered the fire. He responded to the scene and gained access to the unit, finding it filled with dense smoke that virtually precluded visibility. Crawling past flames in both burning areas, he searched for the woman, going from the living room through the kitchen and bedroom before finding her in the shower. Norhausen took her to the floor, then pulled on her as they crawled to the living room and outside to safety. The woman required hospitalization for burns to the upper part of her body, and Norhausen sustained a blistered hand, from which he recovered.
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Kenyon D. Brindley, deceased
Kenyon D. Brindley died after helping in an attempt to save a boy and his father from drowning, Grayton Beach, Florida, June 9, 2003. A 12-year-old boy and his boogie board were taken seaward by rough water conditions in the Gulf of Mexico, and his father, 60, experienced difficulty during a rescue attempt. Nearby on the beach, Brindley, 36, account executive, was alerted to their plight. He and others entered the water and swam out for the victims, the boy then being re-established on his board and sent kicking toward shore. He left the water uninjured. The rescuers attempted to remove the boy’s father, who had been overcome in the water, but rough conditions thwarted their efforts initially. Brindley too was overcome and was next seen floating face down near the father. Both men were recovered from the surf by others. The father drowned. Brindley was taken to the hospital, where he died the following day, also of drowning.
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C. James Rospert
C. James Rospert rescued Rachael Baughn from an attacking dog, Bellevue, Ohio, May 14, 2003. Rachael, 16, was struggling to restrain her family’s 70-pound dog in the front yard of their home after it attacked a boy, inflicting a severe bite wound. The dog then turned on her, biting her repeatedly about the arms and legs. She yelled for help. In his car parked nearby, Rospert, 68, retired truck driver, heard Rachael scream, then saw the attack. He hurried to the scene, donning a pair of leather gloves he had in his car. As Rospert reached Rachael and the dog, the dog broke free of Rachael and attacked him, biting him on his right forearm. Rospert fought the dog off, but it bit him twice more before he kicked it away. Police responded shortly and captured the dog. Rachael and the boy both required hospital treatment for their wounds, as did Rospert, who was detained for surgery. He retained scarring.
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James Paul Goebel, Jr.
San Diego, California
James Paul Goebel, Jr., rescued Pedro and Claudia Tienda from burning, Stockton, California, July 6, 2002. Pedro, 6, and Claudia, 7, were passengers in a sport utility vehicle, which, driven by their mother on an interstate highway, was involved in a multi-vehicle accident. Flames broke out at the vehicle’s front end and quickly spread to and throughout its cab. Motorists stopping at the scene included Goebel, 45, corrections officer. Goebel responded to the passenger side of the vehicle and, despite intense heat and dense smoke inside, extended his upper body into the cab through the opened front door. He released Pedro’s safety belt with some difficulty, then patted out flames on the boy’s clothing with his hands. Goebel lifted Pedro from the vehicle and carried him to safety. Returning, he opened the rear passenger door, felt his way through the smoke to Claudia, and released her safety belt. After using his hands to extinguish flames on her clothes, he removed her from the vehicle and carried her away. Flames engulfed the vehicle. The children’s mother and another child in the vehicle died at the scene, and three others died in one of the other vehicles involved in the accident. Pedro and Claudia suffered severe and extensive burns, which required lengthy hospitalization.
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William J. Lum
Summit, New York
William J. Lum saved Denise Robinson from burning, Summit, New York, July 28, 2003. Unable to walk due to a disability, Ms. Robinson, 39, was trapped on the first floor of her house after a fire broke out in the living room and filled the house with dense smoke. From his home nearby, Lum, 24, emergency medical technician, saw smoke issuing from the house and immediately responded to the scene. Despite having almost no visibility in the smoke, he twice entered the house through the rear door but was forced to retreat each time, first after being nearly overcome by conditions and then after becoming stunned when he bumped into a support post. On his third attempt, Lum, crouching, made his way into the living room, where he found Ms. Robinson, who lay on the floor. Grasping her by the ankle, he pulled her to the rear door, then outside, where he covered her with his body to protect her from the flying glass of breaking windows. He then lifted Ms. Robinson and carried her to a neighbor’s yard, where he helped arriving paramedics tend her. Ms. Robinson and Lum were both taken to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. They recovered.
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Warren, New Hampshire
Christopher Oikle saved Jared Champigny from drowning, Warren, New Hampshire, August 5, 2003. While on an outing with family and friends along a secluded section of the Baker River, Jared, 13, jumped from a boulder into a pool of the river and became caught in the turbulent water there. The river was cold, swollen due to recent rains, and swift through the rocky gorge in which the pool was located. Nearby, Oikle, 21, dredge operator, was alerted to Jared’s plight as the adults in that party were attempting a rescue. Despite having decided not to swim at the scene that day because of the water conditions, Oikle responded to a point on a boulder adjacent the pool and jumped into the river. He swam to Jared, grasped him around the chest, and, numbing in the cold water, secured him. Oikle then lifted Jared to the end of a line that the others had dropped from atop the boulders. They pulled him from the pool, then lowered the line to Oikle and pulled him through the pool to where he could safely leave the river. Jared suffered a cut on his back but did not require medical treatment. Oikle was shaken and nearly exhausted but later recovered.
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Rodney Paul Shunta
Rodney Paul Shunta saved Jennifer J. Campbell from drowning, Muskegon, Michigan, August 24, 2003. Ms. Campbell, 20, was swimming in Lake Michigan when she found herself far from shore in water over her depth. She struggled to return against a strong undertow and to stay afloat in the rough water. It was dusk. Shunta, 38, water plant operator, was walking atop a break wall that extended several hundred feet from shore into the lake when he saw Ms. Campbell about 100 feet off to the side. He removed his shoes and shirt, entered the water, and swam to Ms. Campbell, who was about 600 feet from shore. After they rested a bit, Ms. Campbell held to Shunta while they swam toward shore, Shunta having decided against returning to the wall because of waves breaking there. Once they were able to stand, Shunta walked Ms. Campbell out of the water. Ms. Campbell was treated by paramedics at the scene, then went to the hospital for observation, but she was not injured. Shunta was tired after the rescue but recovered the next day.
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Massapequa, New York
Phillip Fiorentino saved Winston C. Cover, Jr., from burning, Valley Stream, New York, June 15, 2003. Cover, 30, lay unconscious in the front seat of a burning car after a highway accident. At a residence nearby, Fiorentino, 28, carpenter, heard the crash. He ran to the scene, where he found gasoline on the pavement and flames issuing from the rear and rear interior of the car and its underside. Fiorentino opened the driver’s door and saw Cover lying atop a passenger along the passenger side of the front seat. He extended the upper part of his body into the car, grasped Cover by the feet, then pulled him from the vehicle and about 10 feet away. He returned to the car and re-entered for the passenger, but deteriorating conditions forced him away. The car became engulfed by flames. The passenger in the front seat, and one in the back, died at the scene. Cover was taken to the hospital for treatment of his injuries. Fiorentino sustained minor burns to his head and minor smoke inhalation; he recovered.
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Ronald J. Gross
Ronald J. Gross rescued Kelly A. Capitani from assault, York, Pennsylvania, September 29, 2003. Ms. Capitani, 34, was walking along a city street when a man approached, accosted her, and forced her into an alley. Driving by, Gross, 31, attorney, witnessed the assault and heard Ms. Capitani scream for help. Gross stopped his car and exited, then confronted the assailant. With the assailant’s attention drawn to Gross, Ms. Capitani freed herself and found refuge in Gross’s car. The assailant approached Gross, producing a pellet gun that he had concealed in his attire. He pointed the gun at Gross, forced him to the pavement, and threatened to kill him. He then struck Gross across the jaw with the weapon and walked away. Gross and Ms. Capitani flagged down two passing sheriff’s deputies and reported the assault. The deputies pursued the assailant, and gunfire was exchanged, the assailant mortally wounded. Ms. Capitani and Gross sustained minor injuries, Gross seeking hospital treatment, but they fully recovered.
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Ryan C. Lane
Albert A. Larsen, deceased
Fort Worth, Texas
Ryan C. Lane and Albert A. Larsen helped to save William J. Gorman and others from drowning, and Larsen saved Helen M. Foster and died attempting to save the Robert T. Rogers family, Emporia, Kansas, August 30, 2003. During extremely heavy rain at night, Gorman, 45; Ms. Foster, 79; the Robert T. Rogers family, and other motorists became stranded in their vehicles as they entered a portion of the interstate highway flooded by the rising waters of Jacob Creek. Lane, 24, desk clerk, and Larsen, 31, technical specialist, were among the stranded motorists, whose vehicles were taking on water. Lane abandoned his car and aided others across the highway’s concrete medial barrier to where the lanes of opposing traffic were not then significantly affected by flooding. Likewise, Larsen was providing assistance, including pulling Ms. Foster through the driver’s window of her disabled car and carrying her to safety. Rather than remain in the safety of the opposing lanes of traffic, Lane and Larsen returned to the flooded area, where they approached Gorman’s car in the steadily rising water. They aided Gorman through the driver’s door, then took him to safety across the barrier, where he sought refuge in another vehicle. Lane remained there to warn motorists of the danger ahead as Larsen returned toward the flooded area, where he was last seen aiding Rogers, 37, and his family, who were stranded in their van. The buildup of floodwaters against the barrier caused its collapse and washed seven vehicles, including the van, from the roadway. Larsen and Rogers’s wife and four young children drowned. Lane, Gorman, and Rogers sustained scrapes, and they recovered. Ms. Foster was not injured.
77241-8821 / 77152-8822
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Raymond F. Ives, deceased
Jeremy F. Tessler
Raymond F. Ives, who died, and Jeremy F. Tessler and Jeremy Vigil attempted to save an indeterminate number of persons from assault, Valley Center, California, April 12, 2003. Ives, 61, was at work as a security officer for a casino, where Tessler, 31, was a parking valet and Vigil, 25, was front services supervisor. They were posted at one of the establishment’s entrances when an armed man approached on foot to gain entry to the building. The man was a fugitive wanted in connection with an armed robbery that day, and other crimes, and he had been pursued to the premises of the casino by police. Although unarmed, Ives physically engaged the man to keep him from entering the building, but the man made his way through the doors opening to the lobby, Ives going to the floor. Tessler and Vigil rushed the man and tackled him. The man produced a loaded gun and fired it, hitting Tessler in the leg. Ives crawled to the assailant and further attempted to restrain him, but the assailant fired at Ives, striking him in the head at close range. The assailant then went toward the gaming area of the casino when police arrived and fired at him. He turned his gun on himself and inflicted a mortal wound. Ives was taken to the hospital, where he died seven hours later. Tessler required hospital treatment for his injury.
76826-8818 / 76827-8819 / 76890-8820
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