PITTSBURGH, PA, July 6, 2007 — In its third award announcement of 2007, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 19 individuals throughout 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.
The heroes announced today bring to 58 the number of awards made to date in 2007 and to 9,111 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 $5,000. Throughout the 103 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $29.6 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.
Of the three awardees who died in the performance of their heroic acts, one was a visitor to the United States from Russia. Vitaly Tsikoza of Novosibirsk attempted to save his friends’ young daughter from falling from a narrow ledge of a steep wall of American Fork Canyon while the party was visiting Timpanogos Cave National Monument in Utah. After Tsikoza fell to his death, the girl was rescued by others, two of whom, Mickey D. Horak and Marc J. Ellison, are also being cited as heroes by the Commission. The awardees are:
- Clifford R. Boyd, Kemmerer, Wyo.
- Charles Harold Rottkamp, Hampton, Va.
- Marlin A. Coats, deceased, San Leandro, Calif.
- Howard Augusta Thurston, Columbia, Va.
- Samuel J. Shealy, Goochland, Va.
- Dale Dwayne Hickman, Wewoka, Okla.
- Malcolm T. Morgan, Tulsa, Okla.
- Adam Hughes, W. Va.
- Mathew B. Vizbulis, Fonthill, Ont.
- Christopher J. Lyons, deceased, Queens, N.Y.
- Tommy L. Barbee, Chandler, Okla.
- Fatmata M. Kabba, Alexandria, Va.
- Mark Fisher, Miller Place, N.Y.
- Matthew J. Shackles, Mount Sinai, N.Y.
- Randall K. L. McConnell, Ottawa, Ont.
- Vitaly Tsikoza, deceased, Novosibirsk, Russia
- Mickey D. Horak, Corpus Christi, Texas
- Marc J. Ellison, American Fork, Utah
- Frank R. Hicks V, Oroville, 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
Clifford R. Boyd
Clifford R. Boyd saved Kaili M. Heronema and Amanda R. and Arden L. Humphreys from drowning, La Barge, Wyoming, August 3, 2006. Early in the morning, Kaili, 7; Amanda, 17; and their grandfather, Humphreys, 78, were found clinging to the bow of a boat that was swamped and partially sank about 14 hours earlier while the party was on a fishing outing on Fontenelle Reservoir. They were in deep, cold water about 450 feet from the closer bank when found by Boyd, 30, deputy sheriff, who had been dispatched to search for them. Although he was recovering from recent ear surgery, Boyd, knowing that it would take time for a rescue team to arrive at the remote location, removed articles of clothing and gear and swam out to the boat. Grasping Kaili, he towed her ashore and placed her in his vehicle to warm. Another deputy arrived, with empty plastic containers, and Boyd, using one of them as a flotation device, swam to the boat again. With both Amanda and him holding to the container, Boyd swam Amanda to shore, and she joined Kaili in Boyd’s vehicle. Again using the container, Boyd swam a third time to the boat. Helping Humphreys hold the container, he swam to wadable water, towing Humphreys, then was helped by the other deputy in removing Humphreys from the reservoir. Humphreys and his granddaughters were taken to the hospital for treatment of hypothermia and dehydration, and they recovered. Boyd was nearly exhausted, and he developed ill effect in his affected ear that required medical treatment.
Back to Top
Charles Harold Rottkamp
Charles Harold Rottkamp attempted to rescue Cleveland O. Hill from assault, Williamsburg, Virginia, August 2, 2006. Hill, 29, was attacked by a man wielding a 10-inch knife in the lobby of the hotel in which Hill worked. Rottkamp, 29, hotel manager, was in the adjacent lounge when he heard screaming. He immediately responded to the lobby and saw Hill on the floor, the assailant standing over him. Rottkamp ran to the assailant and grasped him. In their ensuing struggle, the men fell to the floor, where the assailant stabbed Rottkamp repeatedly, in the arm, chest, and back. The assailant then walked from the hotel. Hill died at the scene of his injuries. Rottkamp was taken to the hospital, where he was detained eight days for treatment, including surgery, of his stab wounds. He was disabled for two months.
Back to Top
Marlin A. Coats, deceased
San Leandro, California
Marlin A. Coats died helping to save two boys from drowning, San Francisco, California, May 14, 2006. Two boys, ages 14 and 11, were swimming in the Pacific Ocean when they were pulled away from shore by a current. Coats, 29, store manager, was in another party nearby on the beach when they heard the boys shout for help. Coats removed his shoes and entered the 54-degree water. He swam out to the older boy and helped him toward shore, and that boy left the water. Coats turned back for the other boy, who was farther out. Others entered the water, including two lifeguards who had been alerted. Finding that Coats had submerged, the lifeguards pulled him to the surface of the water and placed him on a rescue board. They returned him and the other boy to shore. Coats and both boys were taken to the hospital for treatment, but Coats could not be revived, as he had died of drowning.
Back to Top
Howard Augusta Thurston
Samuel J. Shealy
Howard Augusta Thurston and Samuel J. Shealy rescued Ann H. Robertson from burning, Midlothian, Virginia, March 15, 2006. Robertson, 63, was the driver of an automobile that was struck from behind by another vehicle at night. At impact, fire erupted on the back of the car, which then left a trail of flames as it moved from the highway. Other motorists, including Thurston, 57, equipment repair technician and farmer, and his passenger, Shealy, 71, retired bridge construction worker, stopped at the scene. Thurston opened the driver’s door and entered the car, finding Robertson on the floor behind the front seat. Repelled by smoke, he exited the vehicle and went to its passenger side, but trees there blocked access to the car. Shealy also entered the car and from the front seat saw that flames had entered its interior and were spreading to the back seat. After he too left the car, Thurston entered it a second time and from the front seat patted out flames around Robertson. He tried to pull her from the floor but was not successful before having to leave for air again. On his third entry, Thurston succeeded in pulling Robertson over and onto the front seat. Shealy reached inside the vehicle and with Thurston pulled her from the car and carried her to safety. Moments later the interior of the car was engulfed by flames. Robertson required hospitalization for extensive burns.
79440-9095 / 79441-9096
Back to Top
Dale Dwayne Hickman
Malcolm T. Morgan
Dale Dwayne Hickman and Malcolm T. Morgan rescued Brandon W. McClure from burning, Seminole, Oklahoma, June 5, 2006. McClure, 23, was the driver of a car that left the highway, struck a concrete culvert, and broke into flame at its back end. Rendered unconscious, he remained in the driver’s seat as flames grew and entered the back-seat area of the car. Hickman, 42, truck driver, came upon the scene while driving on the highway and stopped, as did another motorist, Morgan, 54, aircraft maintenance technician. They approached the driver’s side of the wrecked car and, despite blistering heat from the nearby flames, reached through the window of the driver’s door and grasped McClure. Together they removed him from the vehicle and dragged him across the highway to safety. McClure was hospitalized for treatment of extensive injuries and severe burns. Hickman also required hospital treatment, for first- and second-degree burns to his right arm, and Morgan sustained a burn to his right hand, which was treated at the scene. They recovered.
79493-9098 / 79775-9099
Back to Top
Richwood, West Virginia
Adam Hughes attempted to rescue Suzanne Kettler from burning, Richwood, West Virginia, March 12, 2006. Kettler, 49, was inside the cabin where she was residing after a fire broke out and spread through the two-room structure, filling it with dense smoke. Hughes, 27, logger, who lived nearby, discovered the fire and immediately responded to the scene. He went to the cabin’s side door and opened it, but the smoke precluded his entering. Responding to the front of the structure, Hughes kicked in the front door and entered a few feet. With flames almost throughout the interior of the cabin, Hughes found Kettler on a couch beside the door. He approached the couch, picked Kettler up, and, carrying her through the front door, placed her on the porch. Kettler died at the scene. Hughes sustained first- and second-degree burns to his arms and neck area and was taken to the hospital for treatment. He missed a week’s work but fully recovered.
Back to Top
Mathew B. Vizbulis
Mathew B. Vizbulis saved Shailesh H., Smit S., and Hasya S. Shah from drowning, Niagara Falls, Ontario, July 29, 2006. Shah, 41, and his sons Smit, 14, and Hasya, 11, were caught in an eddy off the bank of the Niagara River, in a remote area below Niagara Falls in which the river was narrowed, extremely swift, and turbulent. Vizbulis, 28, artist, was rock climbing along the bank when screaming at the scene attracted his attention. He responded to the river and saw that the three victims were floating face down in the water and unconscious. Removing his shirt and shoes, Vizbulis entered the river, which was not wadable there, and with difficulty swam to the eddy. First contacting Shah, he pulled his face from the water and then grasped him under the arms and towed him to the bank, where others aided him from the river. Vizbulis swam back to the eddy, next reaching Smit, and returned him to the bank. Shah and Smith regained consciousness. Vizbulis swam out a third time, for Hasya, and took him in to safety. Hasya regained a degree of consciousness and was taken to the hospital, where he was treated for having nearly drowned. He recovered.
Back to Top
Christopher J. Lyons, deceased
Queens, New York
Christopher J. Lyons died attempting to save Tyshon H. Hawkins from drowning, Asbury Park, New Jersey, July 31, 2006. Tyshon, 13, was swimming in the Atlantic Ocean when a strong seaward current took him, and two other swimmers, farther from the beach. Unsuccessful in his attempt to swim back to shore, he called out for help. From another party on the beach, Lyons, 40, entered the water and swam toward Tyshon. Both were carried farther out, to the end of a rock jetty that extended 250 feet into the water at the scene. Lyons submerged at about that point. Tyshon made his way to the opposite side of the jetty and swam safely to shore, where he was tended by paramedics. Lyons was found in the water along the jetty, also on its opposite side, and was removed to shore by rescue personnel. He was taken to the hospital but could not be revived, as he had drowned. The other two victims were aided ashore by another man.
Back to Top
Tommy L. Barbee
Tommy L. Barbee helped to save a man from burning, Tulsa, Oklahoma, February 16, 2006. A 34-year-old man lay overcome by smoke in the living room of his second-story apartment after fire broke out in the unit’s bedroom and spread. Flames and smoke issued from the apartment’s windows. On duty nearby, Barbee, 34, police officer, was alerted to the fire. Responding to the scene and learning that the apartment’s occupant was unaccounted for, he climbed the outdoor stairway to the second floor, kicked in the apartment door, and entered, his flashlight useless in the dense smoke. Yelling, Barbee heard the man moaning, then he crawled about 25 feet to where he lay. Barbee grasped the man by the arm and began to crawl backward to the door with him, but he lost his bearings in the smoke and began to shout for help. A second police officer who had responded shouted, and Barbee followed the sound of his voice to the door. A third man who had responded helped the officers pull the victim from the apartment, flames by then reaching and extending through the doorway. The three rescuers carried the victim down the stairs to safety. He was not burned but required three days’ hospitalization for treatment of smoke inhalation. Barbee also inhaled smoke, and he was given oxygen at the scene. Both recovered.
Back to Top
Fatmata M. Kabba
Fatmata M. Kabba helped to rescue two persons from assault, Alexandria, Virginia, January 9, 2005. A 37year-old woman was in her office on the nursing floor of a retirement home when a disturbed man entered the room with a knife and attacked her. They went to the floor, the assailant cutting her with the knife. Hearing the woman scream, a 62-year-old man, who was visiting nearby in that unit, approached the office and witnessed the attack. He grabbed the assailant and struggled with him, the assailant taking him to the floor and inflicting major cut wounds to his head and face. In another unit on the floor, Kabba, 37, nursing assistant, also heard screaming from the office and responded. She approached the woman, grasped her by the arms, and pulled her from the office. The woman fled to safety. Kabba returned to the office door and yelled at the assailant to stop his attack on the man. Distracted, the assailant turned to Kabba and, threatening her with the knife, chased her through the corridor. He inflicted knife wounds to four elderly patients before he was subdued. The man and woman were treated at the hospital for their lacerations, the man’s requiring 48 sutures. He recovered.
Back to Top
Miller Place, New York
Matthew J. Shackles
Mount Sinai, New York
Mark Fisher and Matthew J. Shackles rescued Jacqueline G. Rathjen from burning, Coram, New York, August 29, 2006. Following a highway accident at night that involved the sports car in which she was the passenger and two other vehicles, Rathjen, 20, was semiconscious in the front seat as flames began to spread from the driver’s side throughout the vehicle. Fisher, 51, off-duty police officer, drove upon the scene and stopped, as did Shackles, 23, university student and waiter. Fisher approached the driver’s side of the car, but flames there repulsed him. He then responded to the passenger side, where, joined by Shackles, he leaned through the exposed top of the car, grasped Rathjen, and started to pull on her, as did Shackles. She did not budge. Heat from encroaching flames was intense as the men redoubled their efforts and were successful in freeing her. Grasping Rathjen about the arms and legs, they lifted her from the car and carried her to safety. Flames grew quickly to consume the vehicle. Rathjen required hospital treatment for her injuries, which included burns, and Shackles sustained minor burns to his left arm, from which he recovered.
79633-9105 / 79634-9106
Back to Top
Randall K. L. McConnell
Randall K. L. McConnell helped to rescue Guy J. A. Clairoux from attacking dogs, Ottawa, Ontario, February 24, 2005. Clairoux, 39, was attacked by three dogs while rescuing his young son from them. Fighting off the dogs, which were part pit bull, he made his way toward the home of a neighbor, McConnell, 41, where the dogs took him to the ground just outside McConnell’s backyard and mauled him. Alerted to the attack, McConnell ran from his house to Clairoux. Screaming, he pulled at the dogs and punched and kicked them. The dogs turned on him, biting him on the foot and severely on his upper right arm. McConnell backed into his yard, two of the dogs following to resume attacking him there as well as a friend who had responded, while the third dog remained at Clairoux. The friend fought off one of the dogs with a hockey stick. The dogs’ owner arrived shortly and removed them from the scene. Clairoux and his son and McConnell were taken to the hospital for treatment of their bite wounds, McConnell’s arm requiring sutures. They recovered.
Back to Top
Vitaly Tsikoza, deceased
Mickey D. Horak
Corpus Christi, Texas
Marc J. Ellison
American Fork, Utah
Vitaly Tsikoza died attempting to save Paulina A. Filippova from falling, and Mickey D. Horak and Marc J. Ellison helped to save her, American Fork, Utah, September 24, 2006. Paulina, 3, fell from a trail at a national monument on the face of a steep wall of American Fork Canyon and landed out of view on a narrow ledge at a point about 75 feet below the trail. Beyond the ledge was a much higher and steeper drop. She began to cry. A family friend in her party, Tsikoza, 41, project manager, immediately began to descend to Paulina. He located her and was heard to tell her that he was going to her, but then he fell down the 60-degree slope of the canyon wall to a point 400 feet below the trail. Horak, 26, electrician, who was visiting the monument, and Ellison, 34, clerk and seasonal park ranger, were alerted, and they responded to the trail. Taking a different course, Horak descended to Paulina, using shrubs and trees as support but having to cover areas of fallen and loose rock with no holds available. Horak held Paulina to keep her from falling off the ledge as Ellison descended to them over the same course. Unable to climb from the ledge with her, the men waited on it for rescue personnel, Ellison taking Paulina from Horak, who then used Ellison’s radio to communicate their status. They waited for 90 minutes on the ledge, the surface of which was loose, as search and rescue workers and medic helicopter crews assembled and responded. A rescuer rappelled to their position, secured Paulina, and held to her as Horak and Ellison climbed to a less treacherous stretch of the slope. They then aided the rescue worker with Paulina to that point, and Paulina was shortly lifted by helicopter from the scene. Using lines and other gear, rescue personnel then assisted Horak and Ellison from the face of the canyon back to the trail, and they descended to its base. Paulina was taken to the hospital, where she was detained overnight for treatment of lacerations and bruises. She recovered. Horak sustained lacerations to his back and knees, and he too recovered. Tsikoza’s body was located and removed from the canyon hours later by rescue personnel.
79790-9107 / 79901-9108 / 79900-9109
Back to Top
Frank R. Hicks V
Frank R. Hicks V saved Dylan T. Beebe and Lisa S. and Debra S. Long from burning, Oroville, California, July 28, 2006. Dylan, 2, and his mother, Lisa, 25, were passengers of the sport utility vehicle driven by Lisa’s mother, Debra, 51. Involved in a highway accident, the vehicle left the roadway and went down a steep embankment into a ravine, where it turned onto its passenger side and caught fire at its front end. Hicks, 23, boat mechanic, witnessed the accident. Seeing smoke rise from the ravine, he ran down the embankment and approached the vehicle but was unsuccessful in opening its driver’s door. After Debra opened that door’s window, Lisa handed Dylan out to him, and he took Dylan to safety. Hicks then returned to the vehicle, on which flames were growing and spreading. Lisa had climbed about halfway through the window, and Hicks aided her the rest of the way out and took her to safety. Debra then climbed through the window and fell to the ground adjacent to the vehicle, where flames were beginning to spread to the tinder-dry vegetation. As her injuries kept her from moving away from the flames, Hicks returned to the vehicle again, seized Debra by the arms, and pulled her to safety. Flames soon grew to envelope the car, and they spread to a two-acre area before they were extinguished. All three victims required hospital treatment for their injuries, Dylan’s being minor burns to his chest. He recovered.
Back to Top