PITTSBURGH, PA, March 15, 2007 — In its first award announcement of 2007, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 20 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.
The heroes announced today bring to 9,073 the number of awards made since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission President Mark Laskow stated that each of the awardees will also receive a grant of $5,000. Throughout the 103 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $29.3 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance. The awardees are:
- Francisco Santiago, Waterbury, Conn.
- Thurston Duke, Muncie, Ind.
- Stephen David Sliwa, Daytona Beach, Fla.
- Duane Damron, Bakersfield, Calif.
- Charles Lee Montgomery, East Liverpool, Ohio
- Donald LeRoy Brown, Aliquippa, Pa.
- Robert F. M. Cornman, East Liverpool, Ohio
- Thomas W. Siegler, Washington, Pa.
- Henry H. Garvey III, Newburyport, Mass.
- Gregory Deighan, Newburyport, Mass.
- Alarie Ronald Davis, deceased, Detroit, Mich.
- Jay P. Johansen, Cranston, R.I.
- Patrick Shane Pace, Lago Vista, Texas
- Brian D. Rothell, Richmond, Va.
- Keith R. Miller, Ocean, N.J.
- James P. Daigle, Jr., Houma, La.
- John C. Springer, Alexandria, Va.
- Amadu Jalloh, Alexandria, Va.
- Jane Margaret Dow, Arlington, Va.
- Justin Frederick Zurilla, Baltimore, Md.
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
Francisco Santiago rescued Teresa A. Sciortino from an attacking dog, Waterbury, Connecticut, March 6, 2006. A 100-pound male pit bull attacked Sciortino, 52, in her backyard, taking her to the ground and biting her severely about the legs. Screaming, she fought to free herself. A next-door neighbor, Santiago, 30, wire technician, exited his house and witnessed the attack. Armed only with a three-foot-long piece of wood that was on his porch, Santiago ran to the scene and began to strike the dog. Despite the blows, the dog continued to maul Sciortino but then turned on Santiago, darting at his legs and snapping. Continuing to wield the piece of wood, Santiago backed away from the dog as the dog pursued him. When the dog finally fled the yard, Santiago aided Sciortino into her house, where they awaited an ambulance and police. Sciortino required extensive hospitalization for treatment, which included surgeries, of her wounds.
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Thurston Duke rescued Clint A. Folgate from burning, Muncie, Indiana, November 30, 2005. Severely injured and semiconscious, Folgate, 49, remained in the cab of his pickup truck after an accident at night in which the vehicle left the roadway, struck a tree, and broke into flames. At his house nearby, Duke, 74, retired manager, heard the accident, and he responded to the scene. Despite high flames issuing from the rear of the pickup and along its driver’s side, Duke approached the passenger side of the vehicle and leaned through the broken-out window of the passenger door. Flames had entered the truck and set fire to Folgate’s clothing. Duke grasped Folgate beneath the arms, pulled him from the vehicle, and dragged him to a point of safety about 20 feet away, where the flames on him were extinguished. Flames soon consumed the truck. Folgate required lengthy hospitalization for treatment of his injuries and extensive and severe burns. Duke suffered minor burns to his hands, and he was treated at the scene. He recovered.
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Stephen David Sliwa
Daytona Beach, Florida
Stephen David Sliwa saved Merry C. Banks from burning, Daytona Beach, Florida, May 10, 2006. Banks, 92, was trapped inside her car after an accident in which the car struck an electrical ground station and caught fire at its front end. Bicycling nearby, Sliwa, 33, racecar driver, heard the ground station explode and then saw smoke from the scene. He responded to the car, finding flames issuing high off the hood on its driver’s side. Sliwa attempted to open the front passenger door but found it locked. After shouting at Banks to unlock the door, Sliwa opened it and, entering the car, kneeled on the passenger seat. Smoke and intense heat filled the car. Sliwa released Banks’s safety belt, freed her leg, and, cradling her, pulled her from the car. He ran with her to safety, an explosive rush of flame shortly filling the car’s interior. Flames engulfed the vehicle. Banks sustained minor injuries.
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Duane Damron saved Curtis A. Nemetz from being struck by a shifting mobile home, Gulfport, Mississippi, December 12, 2005. Nemetz, 26, and Damron, 71, retired athletic coach, were part of a group of volunteers who were installing a mobile home. Nemetz was at a corner of the home, sitting on the ground with his back against a chain-link fence and legs underneath the unit. The mobile home began to shift from its supports toward the fence. As Nemetz got to his feet between the mobile home and the fence, Damron lunged toward him from a kneeling position around that corner of the unit. With his right hand, Damron grasped Nemetz and pulled him from between the fence and the shifting home. That end of the unit dropped to the ground against the fence, pinning Damron by the left hand. He pulled the badly injured hand free. Damron was taken to the hospital, where he remained two months for treatment, including three surgeries. Two of his fingers were amputated.
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Charles Lee Montgomery
East Liverpool, Ohio
Donald LeRoy Brown
Robert F. M. Cornman
East Liverpool, Ohio
Thomas W. Siegler
Charles Lee Montgomery, Donald LeRoy Brown, Robert F. M. Cornman, and Thomas W. Siegler saved George A. Zappone and John A. Thomas, Sr., from drowning, Industry, Pennsylvania, January 9, 2005. Zappone, 44, and Thomas, 35, were crewmembers of a 108-foot towboat that, pushing six barges on the Ohio River, was swept by the extremely swift current through an open gate of a dam at night. The boat came to rest upright in very turbulent water below the dam, at a point about 30 feet from the structure. Only a few feet of the boat’s pilothouse were visible above the water, which was frigid, as was the air. Shouting for help, Zappone and Thomas held to a ladder affixed to the pilothouse for more than an hour. Montgomery, 41, was the pilot of a 66foot towboat that was moored several miles downstream. Learning of the accident, he took his boat to the scene, accompanied by his crew, Brown, 24, lead deckhand; Cornman, 36, deckhand; and Siegler, 47, lead deckhand. Careful to avoid debris and the breakaway barges, Montgomery positioned his vessel in the turbulent water in close proximity to the submerged one. He worked to hold the boat in place, to keep it from being drawn to the dam by a strong back flow. Although the lower deck was swamped, Brown, Cornman, and Siegler threw life rings from there to Zappone and Thomas. Zappone grasped one of the rings and was pulled aboard the rescue boat by its crew. Siegler tended him inside the craft as Brown and Cornman then pulled Thomas in and lifted him aboard. Montgomery rode his boat with the downstream current, then turned it around and took it to the safety of a nearby power plant. Zappone and Thomas were taken to the hospital, where they were treated for hypothermia and other injuries. Four other men aboard their boat were claimed by the accident.
78376-9058 / 78378-9059 / 78377-9060 / 78379-9061
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Henry H. Garvey III
Henry H. Garvey III and Gregory Deighan helped to save Ezekiel T. Wentworth from suffocation, Newburyport, Massachusetts, August 20, 2005. Wentworth, 24, was working with a sealant in an eight-footdeep concrete cistern that was located below ground under the utility room of a house. The sealant vapors ignited, causing an explosion that was heard throughout the neighborhood. Wentworth was severely burned and lay unconscious on the floor of the cistern. Those responding to the scene included Garvey, 42, manager, and Deighan, 43, data sales manager. Dense smoke filled the utility room and even denser smoke issued from the cistern, access to which was through a hatch in the floor of the room. Learning that Wentworth was inside the cistern, Garvey stepped onto a stepladder in the cistern located beneath the hatch. Holding his breath, he descended to the floor. Unable to locate Wentworth, Garvey climbed partially through the hatch for air. Again he descended, that time with a piece of cut hose as a makeshift breathing tube. Inhaling the acrid smoke, Garvey returned to the hatch. With the aid of flashlights assembled by others, Wentworth was seen on the floor, not far from the base of the stepladder. A third time Garvey descended into the cistern. He dragged Wentworth to the ladder and propped him there, then he ascended the hatch and asked for help. Deighan entered the cistern, and he and Garvey hoisted Wentworth up the ladder to the hatch. Other men pulled Wentworth from the cistern, and Garvey and Deighan followed him out. Wentworth required extensive hospitalization for treatment, including several surgeries, of his burns. Garvey and Deighan were treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation, Garvey being detained overnight. They recovered.
78731-9062 / 78884-9063
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Alarie Ronald Davis, deceased
Alarie Ronald Davis died after saving Victoria Davis from assault, Detroit, Michigan, February 26, 2006. Ms. Davis, 53, was sitting in the front passenger seat of a car that was parked on the street in a residential neighborhood. A man armed with a shotgun opened the driver’s door, sat in the driver’s seat, and, placing his hand on the keys in the car’s ignition, told her that he was taking the car. Ms. Davis grasped the assailant by the hand and screamed, alerting her husband, 54, disabled maintenance worker, who was across the street in that vicinity. Davis ran to the car as the assailant exited and stood beside it. When the assailant ordered him to get into the car, Davis grasped the barrel of the gun and struggled against the assailant for control of the weapon. The assailant pulled the gun away and fired twice, striking Davis, then he walked from the scene. Davis went to a nearby house for help and collapsed. He was taken to the hospital, where he died of his gunshot wounds the following day. The assailant, who had killed a woman in a church during services just before the assault on Ms. Davis, died by his own hand later that day.
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Jay P. Johansen
Cranston, Rhode Island
Jay P. Johansen saved Sandra A. Stephenson from burning, Cranston, Rhode Island, January 4, 2006. Stephenson, 57, was in her apartment on the third floor of a three-story house after fire broke out on the first floor at night and sent dense smoke into the structure. She tried to escape the building but was nearly overcome by smoke on the second floor. Johansen, 35, correctional officer, saw flames issuing from the house while driving nearby. He reported the fire, then responded to the back door of the house, where he learned from other tenants who were fleeing that Stephenson was inside. Johansen entered the building and, hearing Stephenson coughing and screaming that she could not see or breathe, crawled through dense smoke up the nearby stairs to the second floor. Finding Stephenson near the top of the stairs, Johansen told her to put her arms around his neck. She did so, and Johansen took her downstairs and outside to safety. Both were taken to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.
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Patrick Shane Pace
Lago Vista, Texas
Patrick Shane Pace saved Barbara C. Vidlund from burning, Leander, Texas, April 15, 2006. Vidlund, 52, was inside her doublewide mobile home after fire broke out in the kitchen and filled the home with dense smoke. On duty in another jurisdiction, Pace, 31, police officer, responded to the scene. Despite 20-foot flames issuing from the rear of the structure, he entered its living room through the front door, encountering dense smoke that severely limited visibility. He walked about in the living room searching for Vidlund before having to retreat outside for air. Again he entered the structure, crouched over, but again he left for air without finding Vidlund. Then hearing Vidlund moan, Pace entered the mobile home a third time and, crawling, followed her voice. He found Vidlund semiconscious and sitting on the floor about 15 feet from the door. Grasping her by her clothing, he dragged her to the door, then removed her from the house and to a point of safety with help from another man. Both Vidlund and Pace were taken to the hospital, where Pace was treated for smoke inhalation. He recovered.
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Brian D. Rothell
Brian D. Rothell helped to save a man from falling, Richmond, Virginia, March 25, 2006. In a suicide attempt, a 45-year-old man climbed over the railing of a bridge spanning the James River, which was rocky and shallow there. Rothell, 42, off-duty firefighter, had been following the man, and he immediately grasped him by his attire and an arm. Others responded and, reaching through the balusters of the railing, tried to lift the man, who was suspended 50 feet above the river. Rothell climbed over the railing and secured himself to the bridge by hooking one leg through the railing, then under the edge of the bridge deck. He reached toward the man with one hand while he held to the bridge with the other. Although the man outweighed him by 85 pounds, Rothell grasped him and helped pull him up toward the railing as the man struggled against him and the others. Those on the bridge pulled the man over the railing to safety, then they helped Rothell over the railing. The man was taken to a psychiatric facility. Rothell sustained contusions and lacerations to his leg, and he recovered.
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Keith R. Miller
Ocean, New Jersey
Keith R. Miller helped to save Carlos Hernandez from drowning, Avon by the Sea, New Jersey, February 11, 2006. Fully attired, Hernandez, 21, was yelling and struggling in the Atlantic Ocean at a point about 300 feet from shore. Miller, 64, marketing consultant, was jogging past the scene when he saw Hernandez. He stripped down to his running tights and entered the water, the temperature of which was about 40 degrees. He waded and swam to Hernandez, who was by then unconscious and floating face down. Miller rolled him over and revived him, then began to tow him toward shore, Hernandez outweighing Miller. A police officer arrived and waded into the water with a rescue buoy. When the rescuers met, they positioned Hernandez atop the buoy, and all three returned to shore. Hernandez was hospitalized, as were Miller and the officer, who required treatment for exposure. They recovered.
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James P. Daigle, Jr.
James P. Daigle, Jr., rescued Ruby H. LeCompte from burning, Houma, Louisiana, February 12, 2006. At night, LeCompte, 89, was in a bedroom of her one-story house after fire erupted in the attic and spread to the hall outside the bedroom. Her grandson, Daigle, 37, police detective, who lived next door, was alerted to the fire and responded immediately. Entering the house, he went through the burning hall to LeCompte’s bedroom. As he then ushered LeCompte from the bedroom through the hall, they fell amidst flaming debris, and Daigle’s shirt caught fire. He lay on the floor to extinguish those flames. Regaining his footing, Daigle seized LeCompte by the arms and dragged her through the hall, their access to the front and back doors of the house blocked by dense smoke. Daigle pulled LeCompte into the kitchen, and from there they exited the house through an adjoining garage minutes before the house was engulfed by flames. LeCompte was treated at the hospital for burns to her hands, arms, and one of her legs. Daigle was hospitalized overnight for treatment of first- and second-degree burns to his back.
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John C. Springer
John C. Springer rescued Jeanne Hobbs from assault, Alexandria, Virginia, January 9, 2005. Hobbs, 37, 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 Hobbs scream, Springer, 62, legal administrator, who was visiting nearby in that unit, approached the office and witnessed the attack. He yelled at the assailant, then grabbed him by the arm. The assailant turned on Springer, and as they struggled, a nursing assistant pulled Hobbs from the room. The assailant took Springer to the floor and inflicted major cut wounds to his head and face. Distracted, the assailant left the office and proceeded to another wing of the floor, inflicting knife wounds to four elderly patients before he was subdued. Springer and Hobbs were treated at the hospital for their lacerations, Springer’s requiring 48 sutures. He recovered.
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Amadu Jalloh and Jane Margaret Dow saved an indeterminate number of persons from assault, Alexandria, Virginia, January 9, 2005. Jalloh, 39, home health aide, was on private duty in a room on the nursing floor of a retirement home, and Dow, 59, editor, was visiting in a room nearby. Screaming in the corridor alerted them to a disturbed man, armed with a knife, who had entered the floor. The man had just attacked four people with the knife in another wing on the floor. Recognizing the assailant, Jalloh walked toward him as the assailant entered a room at the end of the corridor and inflicted extensive knife wounds on an elderly patient. He shouted at the assailant to get him to stop, but the assailant entered an adjoining room and attacked another elderly patient. Dow approached with a canister of pepper spray. Although the assailant threatened them, striking Dow and knocking her to the floor, Jalloh and Dow used the spray against the assailant, after which Jalloh took the knife from him. While Dow attended the injured patients, Jalloh helped to detain the assailant until a police officer arrived, then he again helped to subdue the assailant when he struck the officer. Other responding police secured the assailant and arrested him.
78923-9071 / 78924-9072
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Justin Frederick Zurilla
Justin Frederick Zurilla saved Jayden M. Shird from burning, Rossville, Maryland, May 19, 2005. Following a highway accident involving the sport utility vehicle in which he was the passenger, Jayden, 2, remained strapped in his car seat, which was secured to the back seat. The vehicle was overturned, and flames had broken out at its front end, where they entered the passenger compartment. From nearby, Zurilla, 34, mortgage broker, heard the accident. He approached the vehicle on its passenger side and attempted to open the back door on seeing Jayden inside, but the door was inoperable. Zurilla then went to the rear of the vehicle and entered it through the broken-out window. Lying on his back, he positioned himself at a point underneath Jayden and worked to free him from his seat. After repeated attempts, Zurilla did so, and then he handed Jayden through the window to a woman who had responded. Zurilla exited the vehicle to safety. Jayden was hospitalized but was not seriously injured, and Zurilla suffered minor scrapes and bruises. They recovered.
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