PITTSBURGH, PA, March 23, 2006—In its first award announcement of 2006, 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 8,981 the number of awards made since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission President Mark Laskow stated that each of the awardees or their survivors will also receive a grant of $4,000. Throughout the 102 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $28.5 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.
One of the awardees, Leslie Joseph Staniowski died in the performance of his act. Staniowski, 51, of North Las Vegas, Nev., was felled by a gunman on April 1, 2004, when he attempted to restrain the man, who was shooting at a bartender in a Las Vegas casino. The awardees are:
- Leslie Joseph Staniowski, deceased, Las Vegas, Nev.
- Peter J. Pelletier, Sr., Lee, Maine
- Charles D. Bell, Greenup, Ill.
- Lawrence R. Eaddy, Jr., Sicklerville, N.J.
- Wesley E. DeVane, Elba, Ala.
- Johnny P. Senn, Elba, Ala.
- Kenneth A. McIntosh, Pierceton, Ind.
- Timothy J. Paquette, Auburn, Mass.
- Edsel G. Lorenzen, Radcliffe, Iowa
- Gerald L. Ribeiro, New Bedford, Mass.
- Keith Camp, New Bedford, Mass.
- Curtis L. Brewer, Wakefield, Va.
- Patricia A. Rupert, Grand Rapids, Ohio
- Terry W. Thacker, Trafford, Ala.
- Robert W. Aigeldinger, Mountain Top, Pa.
- John William Oplinger, Wapwallopen, Pa.
- Michael Mauldin, Charlotte, N.C.
- Peter J. Varsalona, Bayonne, N.J.
- Nicolas E. Barrelet, Harrisburg, Pa.
- Randy A. Nolen, New Cumberland, Pa.
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
Leslie Joseph Staniowski, deceased
Las Vegas, Nevada
Leslie Joseph Staniowski saved Kensen Lee from assault, Las Vegas, Nevada, April 1, 2004. Lee, 45, was at work as a casino bartender when a man approached the bar, produced a loaded handgun, and shot at him repeatedly at close range. Not hit, Lee went to the floor behind the bar. Seated at the bar next to the assailant, Staniowski, 51, cab driver, yelled at the assailant, then jumped from his seat, grabbed the assailant around the neck with his left arm, and pulled on him. The assailant shot Staniowski in the chest, then shot him again, in the back, as he lay on the floor. The assailant walked out of the casino but was shortly dispatched by police officers who had been nearby. Staniowski was taken to the hospital, where he died of his wounds.
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Peter J. Pelletier, Sr.
Peter J. Pelletier, Sr., saved a woman from burning, Lee, Maine, December 20, 2004. A woman was lying on the bed in a bedroom of a house after setting a fire in the living room in a suicide attempt. In his office a few miles away, Pelletier, 38, forest ranger, was alerted to the situation. He and another man responded to the scene and attempted to gain access to the house by breaking through the front door, but smoke and flames at the door prevented them from entering. The other man then hoisted Pelletier up to a bedroom window, which, partially open, was about seven feet off the ground. Seeing the woman in that room, Pelletier climbed through the window. Although the bedroom door was closed, smoke was filling the room and heat there was intense. Pelletier roused the woman, then assisted her to the window and through it to the other man, who helped her to the ground. Pelletier then exited the house through the window. The woman required hospitalization, and Pelletier was not injured.
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Charles D. Bell
Charles D. Bell rescued Jimmy S. Derixson from burning, Greenup, Illinois, January 3, 2004. Derixson, 26, was trapped in the cab of a pickup truck after it left the road, struck a tree, overturned, and caught fire at its front end. Bell, 46, farmer, and his son, who were working nearby, responded to the scene, where they aided the truck’s other occupants and attempted to douse the flames. Derixson screamed for help as flames grew and spread into the cab. With no other means of accessing the cab available, Bell crawled beneath the bed of the truck and moved to the cab’s rear window, which had broken out. He reached through the window, grasped Derixson, and, after repeated tries, pulled him free, then dragged him through the window and out from under the bed. With help from his son, Bell took Derixson to safety. Derixson required hospital treatment for third-degree burns and other injuries. He recovered.
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Lawrence R. Eaddy, Jr.
Sicklerville, New Jersey
Lawrence R. Eaddy, Jr., saved Justin L. H. Phillips from burning, Sicklerville, New Jersey, February 14, 2005. Justin, 2 months old, was on the couch in the living room of his family’s one-story house after fire broke out in the adjacent kitchen. Eaddy, 37, postal supervisor, was the passenger in a car that was driving down the street at the scene. Alerted to the fire, Eaddy entered the house through the front door and, crouching, moved forward through the living room. He was unable to see in the dense smoke, and heat in the structure was intense. Nearing the end of his breath, Eaddy found the couch on which Justin lay. He picked the infant up, tucked him inside his jacket, and made his way back to the front door, where he exited the house to safety. Justin was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where he was treated for smoke inhalation. He recovered.
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Wesley E. DeVane
Johnny P. Senn
Wesley E. DeVane and Johnny P. Senn rescued Justin A. Wilks from burning, Spring Hill, Alabama, November 12, 2004. Semiconscious, Wilks, 21, was trapped in the driver’s seat of a burning pickup truck after a highway accident at night. Traveling together on the same road, DeVane, 40, transportation supervisor, and a friend, Senn, 39, an off-duty state trooper, responded to the scene. Hearing Wilks scream, they went to the driver’s door of the truck, despite flames issuing from its front end and leaking gasoline on the pavement. DeVane forced open the door, then extended his upper body into the truck and released Wilks’s safety belt. Senn likewise reached into the truck and worked to free Wilks’s feet from the pedals. As DeVane grasped Wilks about the upper body, Senn held him by the legs. They pulled him from the truck just moments before an explosive rush of flames engulfed the vehicle and spread to another vehicle nearby that also had been involved in the accident. Wilks was hospitalized three days for treatment of injuries sustained in the accident, including a minor burn.
78086-8964 / 78087-8965
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Kenneth A. McIntosh
Kenneth A. McIntosh rescued Pamela M. Walls from burning, Pierceton, Indiana, September 15, 2004. Walls, 49, was asleep in her bedroom after fire erupted in the adjacent kitchen of her one-story house. She awoke to smoke and left her bed but lost consciousness before she could flee the structure. McIntosh, 46, farm and ranch operator, was driving nearby when he saw smoke, then flames, issuing from the house. After calling the fire department, he and other men ran to the house to check for occupants. They broke out windows but saw only smoke inside the structure. Clearing smoke in Walls’s bedroom allowed McIntosh to see her lying on the floor. Boosted to the window by another man, he climbed head first through the window and proceeded into the room to Walls, crouching to avoid the denser smoke above him. He dragged Walls to the window, then lifted her outside to the others, who lowered her to the ground. McIntosh then climbed through the window to safety. Firefighters arrived within minutes and extinguished the fire, but flames had spread to the entire house and destroyed it. Walls was hospitalized for treatment of severe lung injury. McIntosh sustained only minor cuts, from which he recovered.
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Timothy J. Paquette
Timothy J. Paquette saved Thomas E. Bramich, Jr., and Andrew W. Felsing from burning, Fitchburg, Massachusetts, May 27, 2004. Bramich, 32, was the pilot of a single-engine airplane that crashed on a road adjacent to an airport shortly after take-off, and Felsing, 24, was his passenger. Flames broke out on the engine, grew to about five feet high, and began to spread, and spilled fuel was in and about the craft. Paquette, 34, associate court officer, was driving on the road and witnessed the crash. He ran to the wreckage, reached his upper body inside, and grasped Bramich. As Bramich was pinned by his legs, Paquette pulled on him repeatedly to free him, then he dragged Bramich from the plane to a point of safety. Paquette returned to the plane, the interior of which had begun to burn. Again reaching inside, he grasped Felsing, who was covered with fuel. He pulled Felsing from the plane and took him to where Bramich lay. Flames then engulfed the plane. Bramich and Felsing were taken to the hospital, where they were detained for treatment of significant injuries.
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Edsel G. Lorenzen
Edsel G. Lorenzen saved Ryan A. Reisinger from burning, Radcliffe, Iowa, February 23, 2005. Reisinger, 21, was semiconscious and severely injured in the driver’s seat of his car after an accident in which the vehicle left the road and came to rest upright among evergreen trees in the front yard of a residence. Fire broke out at the rear of the car and began to spread, including to the inside. Lorenzen, 75, retired farmer, who lived at the scene, ran from his house to the car, where he found the passenger door jammed and the driver’s door blocked by tree branches. Lorenzen leaned head first into the car through the broken-out window of the passenger door and released Reisinger’s safety belt. He then grasped Reisinger about the shoulders and, backing from the car, pulled him through the window. Flames shortly engulfed the car. Reisinger required extensive hospitalization for treatment of his injuries, but he was not burned. Lorenzen sustained minor burns to his face and hands, and cuts to his hands. He required medical attention and fully recovered.
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Gerald L. Ribeiro
New Bedford, Massachusetts
New Bedford, Massachusetts
Gerald L. Ribeiro and Keith Camp rescued Raymond A. Pittsley from burning, Freetown, Massachusetts, August 16, 2004. Pittsley, 80, was the driver of a dump truck that, in a highway accident, overturned onto its driver’s side in the grassy median of a highway. Fuel leaked onto the grass. Other motorists, including Ribeiro, 33, delivery van driver, and Camp, 42, truck driver, stopped at the scene and approached the dump truck. Pittsley appeared unconscious. The men reached through the windshield and were struggling to pull Pittsley out when fire erupted suddenly at the truck and repelled them. Ribeiro returned to the truck and pulled Pittsley from the cab, then laid him on the ground. After obtaining a fire extinguisher, Camp returned, and he and Ribeiro dragged Pittsley to the highway. Injured and burned, Pittsley was hospitalized but succumbed nine days later. Ribeiro likewise required hospital treatment for burns, including second-degree, to his face, arms, and a leg. Camp recovered from a minor burn to a leg.
77777-8971 / 78137-8972
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Curtis L. Brewer
Curtis L. Brewer saved Leonard M. Gray, Sr., from burning, Ivor, Virginia, December 21, 2004. At night, Gray, 50, who was partially paralyzed, was in a bedroom of a one-story house when he became aware of a chimney fire in the structure that sent flames into the bedroom and smoke throughout the house. With his son’s help, he reached the hall adjacent to the living room. Brewer, 42, mechanic, was nearby, en route to work, when he saw flames and smoke issuing from the house. He stopped at the scene and learned that Gray was still inside. Although recovering from several broken ribs, sustained in an accident a month earlier, Brewer entered the house, through the front door. Visibility was nil in the living room, and heat was intense. Brewer proceeded, calling out for Gray, and found him in the hall. With difficulty, as Gray outweighed him, Brewer assisted Gray to a side door, which was accessed by a handicap ramp. Another man met them there and took Gray to safety. Nearly exhausted, Brewer required hospital treatment for smoke inhalation. He recovered.
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Patricia A. Rupert
Grand Rapids, Ohio
Patricia A. Rupert rescued Jillian M. Badenhop from burning, Liberty Center, Ohio, November 20, 2004. Badenhop, 22, was semiconscious in the driver’s seat of her sport utility vehicle after it was struck from the rear by a tractor-trailer and pushed off the highway onto an embankment. Flames that broke out at the rear of the vehicle entered the passenger compartment. Rupert, 43, homemaker, was the driver of one of the three other vehicles that were involved in the accident. Hearing Badenhop’s cry for help, Rupert, although injured, ran to the burning vehicle. She found the driver’s door jammed, but the window was down or missing. Despite growing flames inside the vehicle, Rupert leaned through the window and grasped Badenhop about the arms. She pulled Badenhop partially through the window, then called for help. Rupert pulled Badenhop the rest of the way from the vehicle, and they fell to the ground. Another motorist carried Badenhop to safety, Rupert following. Flames soon engulfed the vehicle. Badenhop was hospitalized for treatment of her injuries, which included serious burns. Rupert was not burned, but she required hospital treatment for a sprained ankle and other injuries.
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Terry W. Thacker
Terry W. Thacker rescued James D. and saved Virginia C. White from burning, Trafford, Alabama, January 21, 2005. At night, White, 64, was driving a car in which his wife, 65, was the front-seat passenger when the vehicle collided with a pickup truck that entered their lane. The truck burst into flames on impact. The vehicles left the roadway and came to rest in the yard of a residence, the front of the car, then aflame, against the side of the truck. The owner of the residence, Thacker, 47, pipe fitter, heard the crash and immediately responded to the scene. He approached the left side of the car, finding that the window of the driver’s door had been broken out. Thacker leaned through the window opening, grasped White, and pulled him head first from the car. Another man moved him farther away. Thacker turned back to the window, again leaned through it, and grasped Ms. White. He pulled her head first through the window and to the ground, then, spent, collapsed to the ground himself. The other man moved Ms. White farther away as Thacker moved away on his own. Flames shortly engulfed the car. White and his wife were hospitalized for treatment of significant injuries, White’s including second-degree burns. Thacker injured a finger and strained back muscles, and he recovered.
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Robert W. Aigeldinger
Mountain Top, Pennsylvania
John William Oplinger
Robert W. Aigeldinger and John William Oplinger rescued Frank T. Tencza from burning, Mountain Top, Pennsylvania, February 27, 2004. At night, Frank, 15, was trapped in the front passenger seat of the cab of a pickup truck after an accident in which the vehicle left the road, entered a wooded area, and caught fire at its front end. Two motorists on the road, Aigeldinger, 34, state police dispatch officer, and Oplinger, 56, residential service aid, were the first to come upon the scene, and they stopped there. The men approached the truck, where, finding the doors jammed, they removed the driver and other occupants of the vehicle through the window of the driver’s door. Flames had entered the passenger compartment of the vehicle and were growing. Aigeldinger and Oplinger responded to the passenger side of the truck, where they reached through the window of the passenger door and worked to free Frank by moving his seat and pushing on the dashboard. Then maneuvering Frank, they freed his legs, positioned him on the seat, and pulled him from the vehicle, through its driver’s side. Aigeldinger and Oplinger carried Frank to safety moments before the interior of the truck was engulfed by flames. Frank required hospitalization for treatment of his injuries, which included burns to his legs.
78319-8975 / 78320-8976
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Charlotte, North Carolina
Michael Mauldin saved Brian K. Beaman from drowning, Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, July 15, 2003. Brian, 8, was wading in the Atlantic Ocean when he was carried farther from shore into water beyond his depth. His father entered the water for him but had difficulty while attempting to reach him. Lying nearby on the beach, Mauldin, 43, police officer, was alerted to the situation. A strong swimmer but inexperienced with swimming in the ocean, Mauldin ran into the water and waded and swam to Brian, then about 170 feet from shore. He grasped Brian by the arm and began to swim back to shore directly but made little progress and tired from the effort. Concluding that they were caught by an undertow, Mauldin began to swim toward shore at an angle, and he signaled to Brian’s father to do the same. With great effort, Mauldin towed Brian to wadable water, where another man helped them to shore. Brian’s father also reached shore. He and Mauldin were exhausted, but they recovered. Brian was uninjured.
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Peter J. Varsalona
Bayonne, New Jersey
Peter J. Varsalona helped to save Usman A. Chaudhry from burning, Kearny, New Jersey, March 26, 2005. Following a nighttime highway accident involving the four-door car that he was driving, Chaudhry, 18, remained in the driver’s seat, unconscious. Flames broke out at the front end of the vehicle and grew and spread rapidly. A motorist, Varsalona, 56, attorney, came upon the scene. He approached the passenger side of the vehicle, entered the front seat completely, and reached over to Chaudhry but found that Chaudhry was trapped. Leaving the car to ask for help, Varsalona re-entered, grasped Chaudhry about the arms, and pulled on him as another man pushed from the back seat. They removed Chaudhry through the passenger door, Varsalona falling with him to the pavement. Varsalona and others then dragged Chaudhry to safety as flames engulfed the car. Chaudhry, who was not burned, was taken to the hospital but did not survive his injuries.
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Nicolas E. Barrelet
Randy A. Nolen
New Cumberland, Pennsylvania
Nicolas E. Barrelet and Randy A. Nolen rescued Juancio Irizarry from burning, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, January 28, 2005. Irizarry, 59, was in a second-floor bedroom at the front of a three-story row house after fire broke out in the room and set the bed aflame. Barrelet, 39, supervisor, drove by the scene and, seeing smoke issue from the bedroom windows, learned that Irizarry was in that room. He ran into the house and climbed the stairs to the second floor, but dense smoke there repelled him, and he returned outside. Barrelet re-entered the house, followed by Nolen, 43, executive, who also had been passing by. They climbed the stairs to the second floor and proceeded through a hall to Irizarry’s room. Barrelet pushed open the bedroom door and found Irizarry lying on the floor, behind the door. Grasping Irizarry by an arm, he pulled him into the hall and with the other man took him to the top of the stairs. Together the men carried Irizarry downstairs, where they awaited the arrival of emergency personnel. Irizarry required hospitalization for extensive burns, and Barrelet and Nolen were given oxygen at the scene.
78256-8979 / 78257-8980
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