PITTSBURGH, PA, July 2, 2008 — In its second award announcement of 2008, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 26 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. Seven awardees lost their lives in the performance of their rescue acts.
The heroes announced today bring to 48 the number of awards made to date in 2008 and to 9,199 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 grant of $6,000. Throughout the 104 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $30.6 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance. The awardees are:
- Curtis Dawson, Astoria, Ore.
- Dennis H. Morton, Prineville, Ore.
- Giankarlo Squicimari, deceased, Miami, Fla.
- H. Lee Cooper, Westport, Conn.
- Bryan K. Smith, deceased, Arcata, Calif.
- Alexander J. Machado, Milton, Del.
- Jeffery Allen Connell, Mason, Mich.
- Samara Marie White, deceased, Davison, Mich.
- Lykesia Lilly, Polkton, N.C.
- Andres Morales, New York, N.Y.
- Nicholas P. Leary, Plainfield, Conn.
- Deborah Chiborak, Winnipeg, Man.
- Gerard Beernaerts, Winnipeg, Man.
- Craig M. Gouker, deceased, Hanover, Pa.
- Jeffrey W. Sellers, Hazel Green, Ala.
- Patrick S. Payne, Grant, Ala.
- Dwayne D. Trotti, deceased, Killen, Ala.
- Travis Wayne Koehler, deceased, Las Vegas, Nev.
- David A. Snow, Henderson, Nev.
- Richard T. Antonino, Plymouth, Mass.
- Kenneth W. Ringeisen, deceased, Virginia Beach, Va.
- Philip Bevacqua, Totowa, N.J.
- DeWayne W. Griffin, Amarillo, Texas
- Marc Patterson, Kamloops, B.C.
- Michael William Baldwin, Wausau, Wis.
- Sandra S. Baldwin, Wausau, Wis.
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
Curtis Dawson helped to rescue David M. Schmelzer from drowning, Astoria, Oregon, December 3, 2005. Schmelzer, 67, was the captain of a tugboat that was towing a barge on the Columbia River at night. The tugboat capsized in the swift ebb-tide current and floated upside down and partially submerged. Dawson, 47, assistant engineer, was working as a deckhand on the barge and witnessed the accident. Minutes later, he saw Schmelzer, unconscious, float toward the surface of the water alongside the barge. Although both the barge and the tugboat were then adrift, Dawson, fully attired, jumped five feet down into the river, despite the coldness of the water and limited visibility in the darkness. He swam to Schmelzer, grasped his jacket, and pulled his head above water. Realizing that they were being carried away from the barge, Dawson started to swim back to it, Schmelzer in tow. A deckhand threw a rope to Dawson and pulled the men to the side of the barge. With another man holding him, the deckhand leaned over the side of the barge, grasped Schmelzer, and with others worked with Dawson for several minutes to lift him to the barge deck. Cold and becoming numb, Dawson climbed and was aided from the water back to the deck. A bar pilot helicopter responded soon and lowered a sling that was used to lift Schmelzer from the water. He was taken ashore and then to the hospital, where he was admitted for treatment. Dawson also was taken to the hospital, where he was treated for cold-water immersion. Both men recovered.
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Dennis H. Morton
Dennis H. Morton helped to rescue Oma D. Pratt from burning, Prineville, Oregon, August 12, 2007. Pratt, 54, was in her mobile home after fire broke out in its rear bedroom and filled the structure with dense smoke. Driving nearby, Morton, 38, distribution center employee, saw smoke and responded to the scene. Learning that Pratt was inside the mobile home, he entered it through the front door, despite flames rapidly advancing from the rear of the structure and the dense smoke, which restricted visibility. Morton crawled about 10 feet into the living room to find Pratt lying on the floor there. With difficulty, he secured a hold of her and moved her toward the door, where responding sheriff’s personnel assisted in taking Pratt to safety. Flames shortly engulfed the mobile home, destroying it. Pratt was hospitalized for severe burns and died 10 days later. Morton inhaled smoke but recovered.
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Giankarlo Squicimari, deceased
H. Lee Cooper
Giankarlo Squicimari died attempting to help save Erika M. Hernandez from drowning, and H. Lee Cooper helped to save Erika and saved Michael C. Sagaro from drowning, Palm Beach, Florida, May 27, 2007. As Erika, 12, struggled in the Atlantic Ocean, her mother, on the beach, shouted for help, attracting the attention of Squicimari, 31, sales representative, and his friend, Sagaro, 32. They entered the water and started to swim out to Erika, who was about 180 feet from shore. Sagaro reached Erika and, although very tired, began to return her to shore, but Squicimari struggled in the current and was overcome. On the beach, Cooper, 44, sales executive, was also alerted to the situation. He entered the water and swam about 150 feet to Sagaro and Erika. Telling Sagaro he would return for him, Cooper took hold of Erika and towed her to shore, and then he swam back out to Sagaro. He placed an arm across Sagaro’s chest and swam to shore with him as others recovered Squicimari. Thinking there were others who might need aid, Cooper swam out a third time, with a rescue float. Erika and Sagaro were taken to the hospital for treatment, and Cooper was tired after returning to shore, but he recovered. Squicimari could not be revived, as he had drowned.
80360-9176 / 80363-9177
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Brian K. Smith, deceased
Brian K. Smith died helping to save Asa G. Segura Smith from drowning, Salyer, California, July 22, 2006. Asa, 7, his father, and others were swimming in a shallow stretch of the South Fork of the Trinity River when they entered an area where water was at least 12 feet deep and its current, strong. Asa’s father supported him and called for help. Smith, 40, college student, who was Asa’s uncle, was on the bank in the vicinity. He ran into the river and began to swim toward Asa and his father, who were about 150 feet from the bank. Asa’s father submerged, and Asa trod water until Smith reached him. Smith grasped Asa and struggled to return to the bank before he too submerged. Another member of the party also entered the river, taking with her a partially inflated air mattress. She swam to Asa, gave him one end of the mattress, and then towed him to the bank. Rescue personnel recovered Asa’s father and Smith from the river but could not revive them, as they had drowned.
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Alexander J. Machado
Alexander J. Machado rescued Craig S. Burgholzer from burning, Milton, Delaware, March 3, 2007. Burgholzer remained in the cab of his pickup truck after a nighttime accident in which the vehicle left the roadway, struck a tree, and came to rest upside down in a field. Flames broke out at the vehicle, issuing from its underside and entering the cab. Machado, 23, maintenance employee, heard the accident from his nearby home. He responded to the scene, where he saw Burgholzer trapped inside the vehicle, trying to fight the flames back. After attempting unsuccessfully to open the vehicle’s doors, Machado kicked out the window of the driver’s door. Despite the nearby flames, Machado reached inside the cab, grasped Burgholzer, and started to pull him head first through the window. He then grabbed Burgholzer under the arms, pulled him the rest of the way out, and dragged him to safety. The truck was destroyed in the accident and fire. Burgholzer was hospitalized for treatment of extensive burns and a broken ankle. Machado suffered minor scratches to his hands, and he recovered.
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Jeffery Allen Connell
Jeffery Allen Connell helped to rescue Aron E. Wallace from burning, Vandercook Lake, Michigan, June 29, 2007. Wallace, 84, was in his one-story house after an electrical fire broke out in the living room at night. Connell, 33, diesel mechanic, was driving in the vicinity when he saw flames issuing through a window of the house’s living room. He stopped at the scene and reported the fire, learning that Wallace was still inside the structure. After briefly seeing Wallace walk through the living room, Connell forced open the front door. He entered the structure and, with a water hose, fought flames that were near the door. Going to the floor in the intense heat and dense smoke, which hampered his vision and breathing, Connell maneuvered toward the sound of Wallace’s voice, using a wall of the living room to guide him. He found Wallace in the adjacent kitchen, where he was sitting on the floor, semiconscious and badly burned. Grasping Wallace by the hands, Connell struggled to drag him to the front door. He was joined by a responding deputy sheriff, who helped in getting Wallace to the door, where others helped take him to safety. Wallace was taken to the hospital and died the next day. Connell also required hospital treatment, for smoke inhalation. He recovered.
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Samara Marie White, deceased
Samara Marie White died attempting to save Alexia M. VanCleve from burning, Davison, Michigan, November 7, 2006. Alexia, 4, and two of her sisters were in bedrooms on the second floor of their family’s house after fire erupted at night on the first floor. Another sister, Samara, 15, high school student, was asleep on the first floor when she was alerted to the fire. As the girls’ mother attempted to alert their brother, who also was on the first floor, Samara went upstairs to alert her sisters. She awoke one of them, then entered Alexia’s bedroom. All other occupants of the house fled to safety as flames grew quickly and dense smoke filled the structure. A police officer and a firefighter soon arrived on the scene and attempted to enter the house but were repelled by the smoke. Samara and Alexia, found in Alexia’s bedroom, had both succumbed to smoke inhalation.
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Polkton, North Carolina
Lykesia Lilly helped to save Adrian A. Clark from drowning, Burnsville, North Carolina, May 6, 2007. Adrian, 6, called for help as he clung to the side of an abandoned well, at a point about 15 feet into the well. Water filled the 50-foot shaft to that point. His aunt, Lilly, 18, high school student, and other family members gathered at the well and lowered one end of an electrical cord to Adrian, but he did not release his hold on the wall of the well. Lilly then entered the well feet first through the 14-inch opening in its concrete cover. Holding to the sides of the well by her feet and hands, she lowered herself toward Adrian and then dropped into the water. Surfacing, she tied the cord around Adrian’s waist. Adrian was pulled from the well by those at the surface. Lilly then climbed toward the top of the well and was aided from it. She and Adrian were taken to the hospital, where Lilly was treated for lacerations to a wrist and an elbow. Adrian was not injured.
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New York, New York
Andres Morales rescued Cheryl C. Smith from assault, New York, New York, April 24, 2007. While walking home at night, Smith, 38, was approached on the sidewalk by a man armed with a knife. Threatening her with the weapon, he demanded her purse and other possessions. Smith’s friend, Morales, 36, mechanic, had just parked nearby and was approaching the scene on foot. Seeing him, Smith screamed, alerting Morales to the assault. Morales ran to Smith. The assailant turned on him, and the men struggled, freeing Smith. The assailant stabbed Morales repeatedly before fleeing. Smith called for help, and police who arrived quickly apprehended the assailant nearby. Morales was taken to the hospital, where he was detained for treatment of his wounds, which required suturing. He recovered.
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Nicholas P. Leary
Nicholas P. Leary rescued Brenda L. Malarkey from burning, Danielson, Connecticut, August 9, 2007. Malarkey, 39, was in the bedroom of her apartment on the second floor of a three-story house after fire broke out in that room at night and filled the apartment with dense smoke. On duty, Leary, 38, a state police trooper, responded to the scene and went to the second floor of the house, where he learned that Malarkey was inside the burning apartment. He made repeated attempts at penetrating the smoke, which precluded visibility, but retreated to the hall each time. Re-entering by crawling, Leary proceeded to Malarkey’s bedroom and found her lying on the floor next to the bed, which was aflame, as was the wall beside it. He grasped Malarkey under the arms and dragged her to the apartment door and then into the hall. Flames by then had breached the apartment and were issuing into the hall. Another trooper who had responded helped Leary take Malarkey downstairs and outside to safety. Malarkey was hospitalized for treatment of severe burns and died four days later.
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Deborah Chiborak and Gerard Beernaerts saved Winifred M. Lindsay from being struck by a train, Winnipeg, Manitoba, April 17, 2007. Lindsay, 89, was crossing a railroad track in her mobility scooter when one of the scooter’s wheels snagged. The scooter toppled, sending her to the pavement between the rails. With the scooter lying atop her, Lindsay was unable to get up. A passing motorist, Chiborak, 51, restaurant owner and operator, saw the accident. She had parked and started toward Lindsay when the crossing’s gates and bells were activated, indicating an approaching train, which was traveling on that track at about 35 m.p.h. A city bus arrived at the crossing, and its driver, Beernaerts, 50, also responded to Lindsay on seeing her lying on the track. As Chiborak leaned forward and grasped Lindsay, Beernaerts pulled the scooter off her. With the train bearing down on them, although in emergency braking, Chiborak and Beernaerts pulled Lindsay from the track. Chiborak then fell beside the track, the front of the train passing them within seconds. The train continued for more than 600 feet before stopping. Lindsay was uninjured, but Chiborak suffered a strained back and required hospital treatment.
80243-9184 / 81181-9185
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Craig M. Gouker, deceased
Craig M. Gouker died attempting to save Cesar Salazar from suffocation, Owings Mills, Maryland, August 16, 2006. At work on a paving job, Salazar, 22, entered the manhole of a belowground vault to retrieve a tool when he lost consciousness in the oxygen-deficient atmosphere and fell to the bottom of the 24-foot-deep vault. Nearby, Gouker, 47, his foreman, was alerted. After calling for help, Gouker climbed through the manhole and began to descend to Salazar. He too lost consciousness and fell to the bottom of the vault. Responding rescue personnel removed both men and then worked to resuscitate them. Both died of asphyxia.
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Jeffrey W. Sellers
Hazel Green, Alabama
Patrick S. Payne
Dwayne D. Trotti, deceased
Jeffrey W. Sellers helped to save Rick C. Abille from drowning, and Patrick S. Payne and Dwayne D. Trotti attempted to help save him, Hanalei, Hawaii, December 17, 2006. Rick, 14, was swimming in the Pacific Ocean off a beach at the mouth of the Lumahai River. A wave knocked him off his boogie board, and strong ocean and river currents carried him farther from shore. He shouted for help. Sellers, 34, network administrator, was one of three coworkers at the beach. He had been body boarding nearby but was leaving the water because of the strength of the current. On hearing Rick shout for help, Sellers turned and swam to him and then took him on his back. They were then swept toward a rocky promontory that, extending a few hundred feet from shore, formed the far bank of the river. After they were knocked repeatedly from the board by breaking waves there, Sellers fought to swim out toward deeper water, away from the breakers. Meanwhile, one of the other coworkers, Payne, 41, network engineer, also swam out to help Rick, but he too was caught by the current and swept toward the promontory. Battered by the waves, he struggled to stay afloat. The second coworker, Trotti, 43, system engineer, who had earlier left the scene to obtain body boards from the men’s vehicle, returned and entered the surf with the boards. He made his way to Sellers and attempted to give him one of the boards, but a wave broke over them and separated them. Trotti then swam to Payne and gave him a board. Losing the board, Payne was swept farther out, around the end of the promontory, to where he was recovered by rescue personnel. Sellers had maintained his hold of Rick for several minutes, until rescue personnel arrived and returned them to shore. Sellers, Payne, and Rick required hospital treatment, Sellers and Payne for having nearly drowned, and they recovered. Found floating off shore, Trotti was taken to the beach, but he could not be revived. He had drowned.
80209-9186 / 80208-9187 / 80021-9188
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Travis Wayne Koehler, deceased
Las Vegas, Nevada
David A. Snow
Travis Wayne Koehler died attempting to save Richard M. Luzier from suffocation, Las Vegas, Nevada, February 2, 2007, and David A. Snow helped attempt to save him. Luzier, 48, was climbing from the belowground lift station of a sewer system after working on a pipe there. He fell to the bottom of the 10-footdeep pit, where he lay unconscious in wastewater. A coworker, Koehler, 26, journeyman engineer, immediately entered the pit and descended to its floor. He lifted Luzier’s head out of the water before he too lost consciousness in the pit’s oxygen-deficient atmosphere, which contained toxic fumes. Another coworker, Snow, 29, engineer, entered the pit in a rescue attempt, but he also lost consciousness and collapsed. Responding rescue personnel removed the men from the pit. Snow survived but required extensive hospitalization for acute respiratory distress. Luzier and Koehler died at the scene.
80638-9191 / 80107-9192
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Richard T. Antonino
Richard T. Antonino rescued James C. Randolph from burning, Plymouth, Massachusetts, April 24, 2007. Randolph, 44, remained in the driver’s seat of his car after an accident in which the car struck two other vehicles and a utility pole. The car came to rest upright against the pole, with flames that had erupted issuing up along the sides of the car. Antonino, 37, charter boat captain, heard the crash from his home nearby. He ran to the scene and, seeing Randolph slumped over the steering wheel, opened the driver’s door. He leaned into the car and attempted to release Randolph’s safety belt but was repelled by the heat. He entered again and released the belt and then with difficulty grasped Randolph about the upper torso and pulled him from the vehicle. Others helped Antonino drag the man to safety. Randolph required hospitalization for treatment of his injuries, which included second-degree burns on both arms. Antonino was also taken to the hospital, for treatment of a second- degree burn to his left arm. Both men recovered.
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Kenneth W. Ringeisen, deceased
Virginia Beach, Virgina
Kenneth W. Ringeisen died attempting to save Donald M. Adams from drowning, Virginia Beach, Virginia, May 20, 2007. Adams, 53, and his friend Ringeisen, 65, masonry contractor, were fishing from Adams’s boat in the Western Branch of the Lynnhaven River when Adams lost his pole to the water. Extending himself over the edge of the boat, he reached for it but entered the river and submerged. Surfacing, he found himself nearly immobilized by the cold water. Although fully attired, Ringeisen dived from the bow of the boat as Adams struggled to remain afloat. The men were together briefly at the surface of the water before separating, and their boat drifted away. Adams maneuvered to a small island nearby and waded from the river. Ringeisen drifted with the current and submerged after another boater attempted to rescue him. He was removed from the river shortly but could not be revived. Adams was taken to the hospital for treatment of hypothermia, and he recovered.
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Totowa, New Jersey
Philip Bevacqua rescued John P. Sole from assault, Totowa, New Jersey, July 16, 2007. On a residential street, Sole, 41, a police officer, struggled against the armed man he was trying to apprehend. The man had just shot Sole twice and at gunpoint forced him to the pavement. Bevacqua, 77, retired police officer, immediately ran to the scene from his nearby home after hearing the gunshots. He approached the assailant and punched him repeatedly, freeing Sole to retrieve his service weapon. Sole then fired at the assailant, felling him. Other police officers arrived and secured him. Sole required hospital treatment for his wounds.
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DeWayne W. Griffin
DeWayne W. Griffin rescued Bobbie J. Miller from burning, Amarillo, Texas, June 26, 2007. At night, Miller, 70, was in her one-story house after fire broke out at the rear of the structure, entered a bedroom, and filled the house with dense smoke. On duty nearby, Griffin, 26, police officer, responded to the scene, where he learned that Miller was inside the house. Gaining access to the structure through its front door, Griffin entered the living room but was forced out by the dense smoke and intense heat. He re-entered and crawled about 25 feet across the living room to a hall leading to the bedrooms. He found Miller standing in a bedroom doorway, across the hall from where flames were engulfing the other bedroom. Standing, Griffin held her to himself and then dragged her to the front door and outside, where they both collapsed. He picked her up and took her to his patrol car. Miller was hospitalized for treatment of smoke inhalation and burns, and Griffin also received hospital treatment for smoke inhalation. He recovered.
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Kamloops, British Columbia
Marc Patterson rescued Colton T. G. Reeb from an attacking cougar, Clinton, British Columbia, August 1, 2007. Colton, 12, was camping with family friends when a 70-pound cougar attacked him, felling him and taking his head into its mouth. A member of his party, Patterson, 45, disabled construction worker, was alerted to the attack and responded immediately from nearby. Patterson kicked the cougar in the head repeatedly, but it would not release Colton. He then went to his knees, grasped the cougar by its neck, and applied pressure, causing it to release him. Colton fled to safety. Patterson and the cougar struggled on the ground briefly, the cougar then freeing itself. Patterson regained his footing as the cougar, just a few feet away, growled at him. He made gruff noises and waved his arms while backing away from the animal, and then he drove Colton to a police station. Colton was hospitalized for two weeks for treatment of puncture wounds and lacerations to his head that required nearly 300 sutures.
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Sandra S. Baldwin
Michael William and Sandra S. Baldwin rescued Justin P. Carstensen from burning, Merrill, Wisconsin, July 31, 2007. Following a highway accident involving a pickup truck and the pickup that he was driving, Justin, 17, remained in the driver’s seat, unconscious and restrained by his safety belt. Both vehicles had left the roadway and came to rest upright in a grassy ditch next to each other. Fire broke out in the engine compartment of Justin’s vehicle and at the undercarriage, and grass in the immediate vicinity also caught fire. Traveling on the same highway, Michael Baldwin, 41, delivery driver, and his wife, Sandra, 38, registered nurse, arrived at the scene. They approached the driver’s door of Justin’s pickup, which Michael peeled open. He extended his upper body into the cab and attempted to turn off the truck’s ignition, as the engine was racing. Intense heat thwarted the effort. Michael then released Justin’s safety belt, but Justin remained entangled by it even as he slumped partially through the driver’s door opening. Sandra reached into the cab to support Justin as Michael used wire snips, provided by a bystander, to cut the belt; he stomped on flames at his feet as he did so. Michael and Sandra then grasped Justin by the arms, pulled him from the pickup, and dragged him to safety. Flames grew to envelope Justin’s pickup as well as the other truck. Justin was hospitalized for treatment of extensive burns and injuries sustained in the accident. Michael suffered minor burns, scrapes, and bruises but did not require medical treatment, and he recovered.
80625-9196 / 80626-9197
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