PITTSBURGH, PA, June 27, 2012 — In its second award announcement of 2012, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 23 individuals as recipients of the CARNEGIE MEDAL. The medal is given throughout the United States and Canada to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. Five of the awardees died in the performance of their heroic acts.
The heroes announced today bring to 44 the number of awards made in 2012 to date and to 9,539 the total number since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission President Mark Laskow stated that each of the awardees will also receive a financial grant. Throughout the 108 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $34.4 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.
- Bobby Joe O’Quinn III, deceased, Bude, Miss.
- Kirk D. Haldeman, Ligonier, Pa.
- Michael J. Ledgard, Greensburg, Pa.
- Andrew Ian Hull, Bethel, Conn.
- Nicole M. Autilio, Saugus, Mass.
- Paul Corcoran, North Andover, Mass.
- Joseph Anthony Jones, Greenfield, Ohio
- Kyle D. Austin, deceased, Mattawana, Pa.
- David M. Reichenberg, deceased, Spring Valley, N.Y.
- Trevor Fox, Chino, Calif.
- Anthony V. Savedra, Wildomar, Calif.
- Timothy Elbridge West, Riverside, Calif.
- Sean C. M. Vorel, Bennington, Neb.
- Connor M. Bystrom, Holmes Beach, Fla.
- Edward J. Power, Jr., deceased, Everett, Mass.
- Austin Woods Ball, River Heights, Utah
- Bryan Phillip Gross, deceased, Douglas, Wyo.
- Christine A. Marty, Sarver, Pa.
- Mitchell Mochinski, Lester Prairie, Minn.
- Zachary Michael Mortenson, Hamilton, Ohio
- Laurie Ann Eldridge, Cameron, N.Y.
- Craig A. Sibley, Caledon, Ont.
- Connor Frederick Klein, Cedar Falls, 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
Bobby Joe O’Quinn III, deceased
Bobby Joe O’Quinn III helped to save Stormy L. Dunaway and died attempting to save Audrionna S. Lofton from drowning, Bude, Mississippi, April 2, 2011. Stormy, 9, and Audrionna, 7, were playing with other children in the water off a beach at Okhissa Lake. The girls encountered difficulty near the buoy line, which was about 40 feet from the bank. Adults responding from their party included O’Quinn, 19. Removing his shoes, O’Quinn entered the water and waded and swam out to Stormy, who was holding to a buoy. He pulled her from it and pushed her to another man, who then took her to safety. As Audrionna was not visible, O’Quinn and others swam in search of her. During his search efforts, O’Quinn submerged and did not re-surface. Rescue personnel arrived and recovered Audrionna’s body within a few hours; she had drowned. The search for O’Quinn continued the following day and into the next, when his body was located beyond the buoy line in water 35 feet deep. He too had drowned.
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Kirk D. Haldeman
Michael J. Ledgard
Kirk D. Haldeman and Michael J. Ledgard saved at least eight people from assault, Ligonier, Pennsylvania, July 11, 2011. After a man entered the barroom of a pub and grill and had a confrontation with one of the patrons, he left the establishment but returned shortly with a semi-automatic assault rifle. About eight to 10 people were in the barroom, with several more in the nearby dining room and kitchen; among them were Haldeman, 51, insurance agent, and his friend, Ledgard, 52, contractor, who were seated at the bar. The assailant pointed the rifle at the patron he had confronted and shot him, killing him. Haldeman stood and, although he was closer to two doors leading from the barroom than he was to the gunman, ran across the room and charged the assailant. He grasped him by the arm and pushed the rifle upward. It fired again. Ledgard approached them as Haldeman forced the assailant against a wall. Reaching them, Ledgard grasped the two men and took them to the floor, the assailant losing control of the rifle. Haldeman and Ledgard secured the assailant until police arrived shortly and arrested him.
84286-9518 / 84191-9519
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Andrew Ian Hull
Andrew Ian Hull saved a woman from assault, Danbury, Connecticut, March 2, 2010. A nurse, 28, was attempting to aid an elderly male patient in the corridor of a hospital when the man produced a loaded, .25-caliber, semi-automatic handgun and pointed it at her. Another nurse, Hull, 35, was on the floor about 50 feet away when he was alerted to the situation. He immediately ran through the corridor, approached the assailant, and pushed him into a wall and then took him to the floor. As the other nurse fled, Hull struggled against the assailant for control of the gun, which the assailant fired repeatedly, striking Hull. Sustaining gunshot wounds to his neck and a finger on his left hand, Hull made his way to the emergency room as the hospital’s security officers responded to the floor. They secured the assailant, who fired additional shots, and held him until police arrived shortly and took him into custody. Hull was hospitalized for treatment, including surgery, of his wounds.
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Nicole M. Autilio
North Andover, Massachusetts
Nicole M. Autilio and Paul Corcoran helped to save Mary L. Ciaramitaro from drowning, Revere, Massachusetts, October 13, 2010. Ciaramitaro, 58, was the passenger in an automobile that in a highway accident left the roadway, went down a rocky embankment, and entered Diamond Creek. The vehicle began to submerge as it was carried away by a tidal current. Other motorists, including Autilio, 36, stopped at the scene. Shouting to Ciaramitaro to get out of the car, she ran down the embankment but lost her footing and fell, striking her face on rocks. Despite that, and her limited swimming ability, Autilio entered the water and swam about 150 feet toward the car. Ciaramitaro, meanwhile, crawled out of the vehicle, which then submerged, and struggled to stay afloat in the cold, murky water. Another motorist, Corcoran, 59, marketing director, also entered the creek and swam out, and he reached Ciaramitaro just after Autilio. Autilio and Corcoran held Ciaramitaro by her hands and swam against the tidal current toward the bank. As they proceeded, Autilio brushed against a submerged sandbar, and the three were able to stand atop it to await help. Responding firefighters took Ciaramitaro to the bank and then returned for Autilio and Corcoran. Divers located the car and recovered the body of the driver. Ciaramitaro, Autilio, and Corcoran all required hospitalization for treatment of ill effects sustained in the accident and rescue.
83578-9521 / 83579-9522
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Joseph Anthony Jones
Joseph Anthony Jones saved Misty M. and Destiny Mathews from burning, Fruitdale, Ohio, January 30, 2011. Mathews, 23, and her daughter, Destiny, 4 months, were passengers in a sedan that collided head on with another vehicle at night in a rural area. The car left the highway and came to rest upright on the shoulder, where it soon caught fire at its front end. Jones, 51, production manager, heard the accident from his nearby home. Dressed in nightclothes, he immediately responded to the scene, where he found Mathews partially extended through the opened front passenger door, her legs caught in the wreckage. Despite flames entering the vehicle at the dashboard, he leaned inside, freed Mathews, and pulled her to safety. Jones then returned to the car, leaned inside again, and tried unsuccessfully to free Destiny’s car seat, which was secured to the back seat of the vehicle. As flames were spreading, he withdrew and broke out the window of the car’s rear passenger-side door. After clearing away the glass, Jones extended his body to the waist inside the vehicle and freed Destiny from her seat, flames encroaching along the car’s ceiling. Jones backed from the vehicle with Destiny and took her to safety moments before flames grew to engulf its interior. Mathews required hospitalization for treatment of her injuries, and Jones hurt an arm while breaking through the window. Destiny was not injured.
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Kyle D. Austin, deceased
Kyle D. Austin died attempting to save Dakota A. Cutshall from drowning, McVeytown, Pennsylvania, July 21, 2011. Dakota, 13, was swimming in the Juniata River with three friends when he struggled to stay afloat in the deeper water of a hole in the river floor between the bank of the river and the bank of an island at the scene. One of his friends, Kyle, 13, student, was standing in wadable water at the edge of the hole. He immediately jumped into the deeper water and swam across the hole to Dakota. A struggle between the boys ensued, during which they submerged and did not resurface. Firefighters responded shortly and recovered the boys from the river. Resuscitation efforts were attempted, but they could not be revived, as they had drowned.
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David M. Reichenberg, deceased
Spring Valley, New York
David M. Reichenberg died saving Dovid Herbst from electrocution, Spring Valley, New York, August 28, 2011. Dovid, 6, and other members of his family were outside their home after a hurricane-related storm passed through the area, causing damage, including downed power lines. With them was a friend of the family, Reichenberg, 50, business operator. As Reichenberg and Dovid’s father talked, Dovid made contact with a live electrical charge, which shocked him severely. His father grasped him to free him but likewise was shocked. Reichenberg immediately advanced to Dovid and broke the contact. He was electrocuted and fell to the ground, a live power line atop him. Dovid was hospitalized for treatment of severe burns and died 12 days later.
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Anthony V. Savedra
Timothy Elbridge West
Trevor Fox, Anthony V. Savedra, and Timothy Elbridge West rescued Steven E. Bull from burning, El Segundo, California, March 13, 2011. Bull, 52, was at the controls of a commercial helicopter being used to lift heavy equipment from the roof of a two-story industrial building. During one such lift, the craft lost partial engine power, sending it crashing to the pavement beside the building, where it lay on its side. The helicopter caught fire as Bull, injured and unconscious, remained in the cockpit, strapped to his seat and otherwise trapped in the wreckage, by an arm. One of his coworkers, Fox, 32, mechanic, who was nearby working the job from the ground, witnessed the accident and immediately responded to the scene, as did two other workers on the job: Savedra, 33, a welder from another company, and West, 41, a pilot who was also one of Bull’s coworkers. Those men had been working the job from the building’s roof. Fox removed glass from the helicopter’s windscreen and then extended his upper body into the cockpit, despite flames beginning to enter it behind Bull. He released Bull’s safety belt and shoulder harness and then supported him, even though Bull outweighed him by more than 50 pounds. Then arriving, Savedra and West extended their upper bodies into the cockpit and joined in the effort to free Bull, Fox fighting the advancing flames with a small fire extinguisher he obtained from the helicopter. After Bull was freed when West pulled hard on his arm, the three rescuers removed him from the cockpit and dragged him several feet away. Flames grew quickly to consume the cockpit, cabin, and much of the fuselage, including the craft’s two fuel tanks. Bull was hospitalized three days for treatment of his injuries, which included minor burns, and he recovered.
84062-9525 / 83959-9526 / 84063-9527
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Sean C. M. Vorel
Sean C. M. Vorel helped to rescue Marcella M. Gilbert from an attacking dog, Bennington, Nebraska, June 2, 2011. Gilbert, 78, was in a fenced-in yard of the kennel she operated when a 70-pound pit bull terrier she was keeping attacked her. The dog took her to the ground and mauled her, inflicting severe injury. Driving by, Vorel, 27, construction worker, saw the attack. He stopped at the scene and, finding the gate to the yard locked, climbed inside. Having obtained a 2.5-foot-long board, Vorel approached the dog and struck it repeatedly about the head. Its attention distracted from Gilbert, the dog attempted to attack Vorel as he climbed a fencing partition. A sheriff’s deputy arrived about then and used an electroshock weapon against the dog, stunning it. The dog was secured, allowing emergency medical personnel to attend to Gilbert. She was taken to the hospital, where she was detained more than four months for treatment, including surgery, of her wounds. Vorel hurt his ankle and shoulder, and he recovered.
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Connor M. Bystrom
Holmes Beach, Florida
Connor M. Bystrom rescued Charles J. Wickersham from a shark attack, Anna Maria, Florida, September 24, 2011. Wickersham, 21, was spear fishing in the Gulf of Mexico with friends, including Bystrom, 22, surgical veterinarian technician. Their boat was anchored in water about 38 feet deep at a point about six miles from shore. Wickersham was in the water, at the surface, about 25 feet from the boat when a shark bit him deeply on his left thigh; the shark was thought to be a nine-foot-long bull shark. Wickersham struck it on the nose with both fists, and it released him. Bleeding profusely, he shouted to the others that he had been attacked by a shark. Bystrom jumped into the water and swam to him. He grabbed Wickersham by an arm and, swimming, towed him to the boat, where the other men in the party pulled him aboard. Bystrom climbed aboard and with the others tended to Wickersham as they sped to a marina. Airlifted to the hospital, where he was detained six days, Wickersham required surgery, including significant suturing, to close his wound. He recovered in three months.
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Edward J. Power, Jr., deceased
Edward J. Power, Jr., died after attempting to rescue Edna M. Power from burning, Everett, Massachusetts, March 10, 2010. Bedfast, Edna, 80, was in her apartment, which was at the front of the second floor of her family’s 2.5-story house. Fire broke out at night on the structure’s first-floor front porch and spread into the house. Edna’s brother, Edward, 76, retired postal worker, who also was in the second-floor apartment, descended the stairs and saw the fire. As the first-floor tenants fled the building, Edward turned and went back up to the second floor. A police officer arrived and started to ascend the stairs. Seeing Edward emerge through the smoke on the second floor, the officer told him to leave the house, but Edward returned into the apartment. In rapidly deteriorating conditions, the officer fled the building. Firefighters responded shortly and, gaining entry to the structure through a rear door, found Edward, badly burned, on the floor near Edna’s bed. They removed him from the structure. He was taken to the hospital, where he died of burns and smoke inhalation a few hours later. Edna died at the scene.
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Austin Woods Ball
River Heights, Utah
Austin Woods Ball attempted to save a girl from drowning, Torrey, Utah, July 15, 2011. A 12-year-old girl was wading in the Fremont River below a 15-foot-high waterfall when she was drawn by a strong current into the turbulent water of the pool at the base of the waterfall. She struggled to stay afloat. In another party at the scene, Ball, 33, structural engineer, was in the shallow water of a larger pool just downstream. Alerted to the girl’s plight, he left the water, picked up a tree branch nearby, and went to the rocky edge of the smaller pool. As the branch was not long enough to reach the girl, Ball jumped into the nine-foot-deep water and advanced toward her. Submerging repeatedly, the girl was unable to grasp the branch. Ball discarded it and struggled to reach the girl, but both were overcome and submerged. About a minute later they were swept from the pool into shallow water, from which they were recovered, unconscious, by others. They were revived at the scene and then taken to the hospital. Ball was detained overnight for treatment of having nearly drowned, and he recovered.
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Bryan Phillip Gross, deceased
Bryan Phillip Gross died attempting to help save a girl from drowning, Douglas, Wyoming, July 28, 2011. A 14-year-old girl entered the North Platte River from the bank and was carried downstream by the swift current. Those responding to the situation included Gross, 29, deputy sheriff, whose shift was then ending. He drove to the opposite bank of the river at the scene, where he parked and removed items of gear and attire. He was seen entering the river and swimming across it toward the girl, whom he intercepted about midstream. Gross spoke to the girl and pushed her toward the bank and then was last seen being swept downstream with her by the current. The girl was pulled from the river by others at a point about a mile from where she had entered the water. She required hospital treatment. A search was launched for Gross when he was shortly discovered to be missing. His body was found in the river three days later at a point a half-mile farther downstream; he had drowned.
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Christine A. Marty
Christine A. Marty helped to save Roumianka Connolly from drowning, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, August 19, 2011. During a flash flood caused by heavy rain, Connolly, 69, became stranded in her car, which she had been driving on a highway through a low-lying area. She shouted for help. Marty, 21, college student, and her mother were in one of several other vehicles that became stranded in the same area. They escaped to the roof of their car, where Marty heard Connolly. Marty got into the water, which reached depths of up to nine feet, and, rather than make her way to the nearer hillside, swam to Connolly’s car. She grasped Connelly through the open window of the driver’s door and pulled her from the vehicle. Still holding Connolly, she swam to a sport utility vehicle that was floating nearby. With help from that vehicle’s driver, Marty supported Connolly while holding to the vehicle. A rescue boat arrived within several minutes and took the women to safety. Connolly, who sustained contusions and swallowed water, was taken to the hospital for observation. She recovered. Four of the other stranded motorists died in the floodwaters.
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Lester Prairie, Minnesota
Mitchell Mochinski saved a man from drowning, Lake Shore, Minnesota, November 5, 2010. Mochinski, 22, sales representative, was fishing the narrows between Upper Gull and Gull lakes when he saw an 81-year-old man drop from a nearby bridge into the water. As the man made no effort to reach either bank of the 75-foot-wide narrows, Mochinski, without hesitation, ran to a point on the bank opposite him. Removing two coats but leaving on two pairs of pants and his boots, Mochinski entered the water, which was frigid; the air temperature was about 35 degrees. He swam to the man, who was face down in the water against a bridge pier closer to the opposite bank. Mochinski turned the man over and then, grasping him by his shirtfront, swam with one arm to the closer bank, his arms and legs by then numbing. Others helped him pull the man out of the water. The man revived at the scene and was taken to the hospital for treatment of hypothermia. Mochinski was cold and shivering but recovered later that day.
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Zachary Michael Mortenson
Zachary Michael Mortenson saved Dane J. Sapp from drowning, College Corner, Ohio, June 8, 2011. While swimming in Acton Lake, Sapp, 21, became fatigued at a point about 360 feet from the beach. He struggled to stay afloat and called for help. In another party at the scene, Zachary, 15, high school student, was about to leave the beach when he saw Sapp struggling. He ran 600 feet to a point on the beach opposite Sapp and then entered the water and swam out to him. By then, Sapp was barely able to stay at the surface. Zachary grasped him and in a cross-chest carry swam to wadable water at the bank, towing him. Exhausted, Sapp needed help leaving the lake. He was taken to the hospital for treatment but was not detained, and he recovered. Zachary was tired after the rescue but recovered later that day.
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Laurie Ann Eldridge
Cameron, New York
Laurie Ann Eldridge saved Angeline C. Pascucci from being struck by a train, Cameron, New York, June 6, 2011. Pascucci, 81, was in the driver’s seat of her car after it became stuck on a railroad track near a crossing. Eldridge, 39, homemaker, was in the yard of her nearby home when she saw the stranded car and then heard the horn of an approaching train. The front of the 47-car freight train was then about 1,250 feet away but was not visible, as the train, at a speed of about 40 m.p.h., was approaching the scene from around a bend. Barefoot, Eldridge ran to the car, having to cross a creek and climb an embankment to reach the track. She shouted to Pascucci to exit the car and then, standing on the ballast, reached through the window of the driver’s door, unlocked the door, and opened it. With difficulty she grasped Pascucci by the arms and pulled her out of the car, the train approaching at undiminished speed. Eldridge took Pascucci down an embankment away from the track. When the car became visible to them, the train’s crew applied its emergency brakes, but the train could not be stopped in time. It struck the car and knocked it off the track. Pascucci was not injured, but Eldridge sustained cuts to her feet, from which she recovered.
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Craig A. Sibley
Connor Frederick Klein
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Craig A. Sibley and Connor Frederick Klein saved Dave Dalcourt from drowning, Daytona Beach, Florida, March 15, 2011. While swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, Dalcourt, 61, struggled against a strong current that kept him from returning to shore. Sibley, 53, biotechnology manager, was in the water nearby and, having also felt the current, had started to return to the beach. As he progressed, he heard Dalcourt call out for help. Sibley turned and swam to Dalcourt, finding him submerged. When he took Dalcourt to the surface, a struggle between the men ensued, Dalcourt submerging Sibley, and they were carried farther out, to a point about 270 feet from shore. Establishing a hold on Dalcourt, Sibley started to swim toward the beach. Tiring en route, he called for help to Connor, 16, high school student, who was in the water between them and the shore. Connor swam to them and supported Dalcourt, allowing Sibley to catch his breath. Sibley then grasped Dalcourt again, by an arm, and with Connor on Dalcourt’s other side, they towed Dalcourt out of the current and toward shore and then aided him to the beach. Dalcourt had swallowed water and was exhausted, and Sibley was very tired. They recovered.
83956-9529 / 83957-9530
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