PITTSBURGH, PA, March 23, 2016—In its first award announcement of 2016, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission said today that 24 people throughout the United States and Canada will each be awarded the Carnegie Medal in recognition of their acts of civilian heroism. The medal is given to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. Three of the awardees died in the performance of their heroic acts.
The heroes announced today bring to 9,845 the total number of awards made since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission Chair Mark Laskow stated that each of the awardees or their survivors will also receive a financial grant. Throughout the 112 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $38 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.
The awardees are:
- Jeffery A. Houlemard, Hesperia, Calif.
- Glenda Clement Beech, deceased, Borger, Texas
- Larry J. Koos, La Motte, Iowa
- Richard G. Williams, Stratford, Conn.
- Anthony F. DellaMonica, Jr., Madison, Conn.
- John D’Alonzo, Glenolden, Pa.
- Glenn L. Graham, deceased, Detroit, Mich.
- Adam James Tarnowski, Onoway, Alta.
- Christopher Mark Rickman, deceased, Brooklyn Park, Md.
- Levi Parker Teuton, Myakka City, Fla.
- John W. Gallie, Toronto, Ont.
- Craig Alexander Morash, Goodwood, N.S.
- Stephen Ross, Halifax, N.S.
- Keiren J. Tompkins, Halifax, N.S.
- Patrick Smith, Pembroke, Ont.
- Gary Spurling, Bellingham, Wash.
- Frederick Wetzel, Dexter, Ore.
- Daniel Patrick Greene, Uxbridge, Ont.
- Ronaldo J. Freitas, Somerville, Mass.
- Gary E. Richie, Cocoa, Fla.
- Jacob Daniel Richie, Palm Bay, Fla.
- Brady Olson, Lacey, Wash.
- Kirk P. Yankasky, Glendale, Ariz.
- Jonathan T. Yankasky, Glendale, Ariz.
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 carnegiehero.org. Find us on Facebook.
JEFFERY A. HOULEMARD
Jeffery A. Houlemard saved Hunter M. Mastaler from an attacking dog, Hesperia, California, February 8, 2015. Hunter, 4, was in the backyard of his family’s house when an unsecured 75-pound Belgian Malinois, a police dog, attacked him, biting him about a leg and holding him to the ground. At his home nearby, Houlemard, 34, electronics technician, was alerted to the attack. He responded to the scene, where he broke down a wooden gate to gain access to the fenced-in backyard. Houlemard kicked the dog, but it did not release the boy. Then bending over it, Houlemard grasped the dog by the muzzle and pried open its mouth, releasing Hunter’s leg. Others responding took the boy to safety as Houlemard used his body weight to hold the dog to the ground. Hunter’s father responded shortly and secured the dog. Hunter required hospitalization for treatment of a severe injury to his leg, and Houlemard injured his shoulder during the rescue, later requiring surgery.
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GLENDA CLEMENT BEECH, deceased
Glenda Clement Beech died attempting to rescue Adonica J. Clement and others from burning, Borger, Texas, December 3, 2014. At night, Adonica, 12; her sister, Ameria, 6; and their great-uncle, Clement, 69, were in their family’s one-story house after a fire broke out in one of the bedrooms. One of the neighbors who discovered the fire responded to the front door and was banging on it when Beech, 61, homemaker, who was the girls’ grandmother and Clement’s sister, approached him from the rear of the structure. When she told him that the house was occupied, the neighbor kicked in the front door, which opened to the living room. Beech entered the house there. The neighbor followed her but retreated because of the smoke, and when he reached for her, she was beyond his grasp. Arriving police also entered the structure, but they too were repelled by deteriorating conditions. Firefighters removed Beech, Adonica, Ameria, and Clement from the house. All had died of smoke inhalation.
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LARRY J. KOOS
La Motte, Iowa
Larry J. Koos saved Debra L. Lane from assault, Maquoketa, Iowa, September 9, 2014. At a county courthouse, Lane, 52, was leaving a meeting of the county’s board of supervisors when an unstable man who was attending the meeting pulled a loaded gun out of his briefcase. He waved it in the supervisors’ direction and then Lane’s. Seated at the front of the room, Koos, 55, county supervisor, was among those at the meeting who addressed the assailant in an attempt to de-escalate the situation. As Lane fled through a door in the rear of the room, the assailant fired a shot in her direction, striking the glass door but not her. The assailant then ran toward the door. Opting not to use a nearby side exit that opened to the safety of other offices, Koos ran across the room and grabbed the assailant from behind. He trapped the assailant’s arms against his body and forced him against the door. They collapsed to the floor, Koos atop the assailant. The assailant fired again, fatally wounding himself. Koos required sutures to close a significant laceration to his right wrist, and he sustained bruising, from which he recovered.
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RICHARD G. WILLIAMS
ANTHONY F. DELLAMONICA, JR.
Richard G. Williams and Anthony F. DellaMonica, Jr., rescued Edward S. Popadic and another man from burning, Milford, Connecticut, June 7, 2014. Popadic, 61, and two deckhands were working on a 40-foot clam boat in Long Island Sound, about a mile off shore, when fire broke out in the boat’s cabin and grew quickly. All three men jumped into the water, with one of the deckhands securing flotation devices for Popadic and the other deckhand before swimming to the safety of a responding boat. Popadic and the other deckhand struggled to stay afloat alongside the burning vessel, the fuel tanks of which contained about 500 gallons of diesel fuel. Williams, 58, international trade specialist, and his cousin, DellaMonica, 57, veterinarian, were in a 20-foot fishing boat in the vicinity. They responded to the clam boat, which by then was heavily involved with flame and was issuing thick, dark smoke. Williams took his boat to within 10 feet of the burning one, DellaMonica then throwing one end of a line to Popadic and the deckhand. They held to the line but were drawn toward the stern of Williams’s boat. Not wanting them to be injured by his boat’s propeller, Williams maneuvered the boat to reposition the men, taking it even closer to the burning one, as DellaMonica guided the rescue line. Williams then backed slowly away, pulling the men to safety as small explosions on the burning boat threw debris into the water. Popadic was hospitalized two weeks for treatment of burns, and he recovered.
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John D’Alonzo helped to rescue Lee D. Silverman from assault, Darby, Pennsylvania, July 24, 2014. Silverman, 52, was in a session in his office with a male patient and the patient’s caseworker. The office, one in a suite, was located off a secured hall that extended from a waiting room. A few minutes into the session, the patient, who was distressed, produced a handgun and at close range shot the caseworker, mortally wounding her. He then turned the gun on Silverman as he crouched behind his desk. D’Alonzo, 42, mental health case manager, was seated in the waiting room when he heard the gunfire. He climbed through the window opening to the reception area and then ran through the hall to Silverman’s office door, finding it locked. He remained in the hall, where he heard additional gunfire. Wounded and bleeding, Silverman ran into the hall, the assailant following. D’Alonzo grabbed the assailant and wrestled him to the floor, where he pinned an arm behind his back. Another man who responded removed the gun from the assailant and secured it. Police arrived shortly and arrested the assailant. Silverman required hospital treatment for his gunshot wounds, and D’Alonzo recovered from minor abrasions.
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GLENN L. GRAHAM, deceased
Glenn L. Graham died attempting to rescue Tanisha L. Lowe from burning, Detroit, Michigan, April 26, 2015. Lowe, 27, was in a bedroom on the second floor of a 2.5-story house after a fire broke out at the front of the structure at night. Her great-uncle, Graham, 56, customer service representative, and a young cousin were in other bedrooms on that floor. Awakening to smoke, Graham and the cousin went to the first floor, where they found flames in the living room, near the front door. After they exited the house through a side door off the basement stairs, Graham sent the cousin to alert help and said that he was returning to aid Lowe. Graham re-entered the house through the basement door as flames quickly spread, soon engulfing the structure, causing much of it to collapse, and extending to the house next door. Firefighters found Lowe’s and Graham’s bodies in the debris.
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ADAM JAMES TARNOWSKI
Adam James Tarnowski helped to save Cameron L. Winters from burning, Stony Plain, Alberta, July 7, 2014. Winters, 19, was the driver of a pickup truck that collided with a minivan on a highway extending through a rural area. The truck overturned, coming to rest upside down on the grassy berm. Winters remained in the driver’s seat, his legs pinned in the wreckage, as fire broke out overhead in the engine area. Tarnowski, 31, welder apprentice, was among the motorists who stopped at the scene. He went to the driver’s side of the burning pickup and with help bent the window frame of the driver’s door upward to enlarge access to Winters. He then knelt, reached into the cab, and freed Winters’s legs, which lowered Winters to the ground. Withdrawing from the vehicle, Tarnowski pulled Winters from the truck shortly before flames grew to engulf it. Winters required hospitalization for treatment of significant injuries.
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CHRISTOPHER MARK RICKMAN, deceased
Brooklyn Park, Maryland
Christopher Mark Rickman died attempting to save Lettitia N. and Sundima G. Sinnah from burning, Brooklyn Park, Maryland, February 10, 2015. Lettitia, 39, and her son Sundima, 17, were in their family’s 1.5-story house after fire broke out in a bedroom on the first floor at night. Lettitia escaped the house with other family members but then re-entered it for Sundima, who was in a second-floor bedroom. Rickman, 45, business operator, who lived across the street, became aware of the fire. He ran to the scene, where he learned that Lettitia and Sundima were on the second floor. Despite growing flames and dense smoke that had filled the structure, Rickman entered the house through its front door and ascended the nearby stairs to the second floor. Firefighters who arrived shortly found Lettitia, Sundima, and Rickman unresponsive in the same second-floor bedroom and removed them from the house. Taken to nearby hospitals, they died of smoke inhalation.
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LEVI PARKER TEUTON
Myakka City, Florida
Levi Parker Teuton rescued Chicago A. Gainer from burning, Myakka City, Florida, April 5, 2015. Chicago, 15, was trapped in the front passenger seat of an extended-cab pickup truck after an accident in which the vehicle left the roadway, struck a tree, and broke into flame at its rear end. The truck had been carrying propane in tanks and gasoline in containers, and both of those fuels contributed to the growth and spread of flames on and inside the vehicle. Teuton, 35, mechanic, drove upon the scene, stopped, and approached the pickup, where he heard Chicago shouting for help. He went to the front passenger door and attempted to open it, but it was jammed shut. Despite the advancing flames, which had reached the driver’s seat and the back of Chicago’s, Teuton partially entered the passenger compartment through the door’s window opening. Heat inside the vehicle was blistering. He grasped Chicago, who outweighed him, and, pulling repeatedly, freed him. He was backing through the window with Chicago when a propane tank in the back of the vehicle exploded, forcing both Teuton and Chicago from the pickup and onto the ground. Others responding moved Chicago away from the vehicle, and Teuton also reached safety. Both he and Chicago were airlifted to the hospital for treatment of their injuries. Teuton was detained 11 days for treatment, including surgery, of burns up to third degree to his face, arms, and legs, and he missed five months’ work.
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JOHN W. GALLIE
CRAIG ALEXANDER MORASH
Goodwood, Nova Scotia
John W. Gallie saved Kevin and Sean Murphy and others from burning, and Craig Alexander Morash helped to save Maryann Murphy, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, May 13, 2014. Brothers Kevin, 43, and Sean, 47, both disabled, were in bedrooms on the first floor of a 1.5-story house after a fire broke out in the kitchen at night. Also in the house were their sister, Maryann, 46, and her boyfriend, Morash, 43, who were asleep on the upper floor, and Maryann’s son, Gallie, 28, customer service representative, who was sleeping in the living room. Awakened to the fire, Gallie entered Kevin’s bedroom, which was off the living room. He hoisted Kevin over a shoulder and took him out the nearby front door to safety. Gallie then re-entered the house and, crossing the burning kitchen, advanced to Sean’s adjoining bedroom. By then, flames in the kitchen had grown to the ceiling and were spreading along the walls, and smoke extended from the ceiling halfway to the floor. Gallie forced open the bedroom door, advanced to Sean, and guided him to the doorway, where Sean fell. Gallie then dragged Sean outside to safety through the front door. He again re-entered the house and crossed the kitchen, passing within three feet of intense flames, to bang on a ladder extending to the upper floor to alert Maryann and Morash. Assured that they were awake, Gallie fled the house, passing through flames to reach the front door. Assuming that Maryann was following him, Morash descended a ladder through thick smoke to the main floor and advanced to Sean’s bedroom to check on him. Hearing Maryann screaming from the upper level, Morash returned to the ladder, having to pass through the burning kitchen. He climbed to the upper level, flames following him. After placing a piece of plywood over the opening to the upper level, Morash led Maryann to and through a small window that opened to the roof of the back porch. He then jumped the 10 feet to the ground. Extending his arms, he broke Maryann’s fall as she jumped, flames then issuing from the window. Gallie, Sean, and Morash needed hospital treatment, Gallie and Morash requiring a stay of nine days for treatment of serious smoke inhalation, and Gallie for first-degree burns on about six percent of his body.
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KEIREN J. TOMPKINS
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Stephen Ross and Keiren J. Tompkins saved Julien M. Rouleau from drowning, Baddeck, Nova Scotia, January 11, 2014. While hiking, Rouleau, 21, broke through ice at the base of iced-over Uisge Ban Falls and struggled to tread water in a pool of rushing water that was about four feet below the surface of the ice. Ross, 57, construction company general manager, and a friend, Tompkins, 59, union executive director, were in another party that was hiking in the vicinity. Seeing Rouleau fall, Ross crossed the ice to the hole created by his breaking through but did not see him. Tompkins joined him, lay at the edge of the hole, and with a hiking pole prodded the water as Ross held to his legs to stabilize him. When Rouleau grabbed the pole, Tompkins pulled him against the current toward the hole and then grasped him by the arms. Joining Tompkins at the edge of the hole, Ross also grasped Rouleau, and together they pulled Rouleau up to and through the hole, others aiding in taking Rouleau to safety and warming him. Rouleau was sore and cold but was able to hike from the scene. He recovered.
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Patrick Smith helped to save Shane Plumb-Saumure from drowning, Pembroke, Ontario, July 13, 2013. While swimming in a narrow branch of the Ottawa River, Plumb-Saumure was caught in the swift current and, stranded, held to a rock at a point about 200 feet from the bank. Just beyond him was a series of rapids that contained a trench filled with debris. Smith, 44, police officer, and his partner and another officer responded to the scene. Finding that Plumb-Saumure was cold and weakening and concluding that his time was limited, Smith donned a life ring with a line attached and entered the water as the other officers secured the free end of the line. When the current took him off course, the other officers pulled Smith back to the bank, and he re-entered the water farther upstream. He swam and was carried to Plumb-Saumure. As the others were pulling them toward the bank, the line separated, stranding Plumb-Saumure again, but at a point closer to the bank, and Smith was washed into the rapids, where he stabilized himself against a rock. Arriving firefighters using a Zodiac boat removed Plumb-Saumure from the river, but with difficulty. Smith was removed from the river by a search and rescue helicopter after being in the water about 90 minutes. He was treated at the hospital for hypothermia and other, minor, injuries and recovered.
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Gary Spurling saved Dennis K. Dupraw from drowning, Ferndale, Washington, November 29, 2014. At night, Dupraw, 81, became stranded in his car as he was driving on a road through a low-lying area that was flooded by the nearby Nooksack River. The car was washed off the side of the roadway, where it lodged against a post in water about 3.5 feet deep. His coworker, Spurling, 40, newspaper carrier, drove to the scene after being alerted to the accident. He entered the 40-degree water at a point about 200 feet south of Dupraw’s car and in the darkness waded through the deepening water to its driver’s side. The car was filling with water through the opened window of the driver’s door. Spurling instructed Dupraw to wrap his arms around his neck, and Dupraw did so. He then pulled Dupraw through the window and, with Dupraw on his back, returned to the roadway and retraced his path back toward his vehicle, an arriving police officer aiding them as they neared the water’s edge. Dupraw required hospitalization for treatment of hypothermia. Spurling was cold and numb after the rescue, but he recovered and returned to work.
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Frederick Wetzel saved Edward P. Blomquist from burning, Cottage Grove, Oregon, November 14, 2014. Blomquist, 77, was unconscious in the driver’s seat of a minivan after an accident in which the vehicle left the roadway, struck a tree, and broke into flames at its front end. Wetzel, 50, general contractor, drove upon the scene and stopped. He approached the vehicle, which was upright on the slope of an embankment, and, after multiple attempts, pulled opened the driver’s door, which had been jammed. Despite spreading flames, which by then had reached the interior of the vehicle at its dashboard, Wetzel extended his upper body into the minivan and untangled Blomquist from his safety belt. He then grasped Blomquist about the arms and pulled him out of the vehicle, taking him to the ground. After Wetzel then dragged Blomquist a short distance away, other responding motorists helped to take him back to the roadway, flames increasing shortly to engulf and destroy the minivan. Blomquist required hospitalization for treatment of his injuries, but he was not burned.
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DANIEL PATRICK GREENE
Daniel Patrick Greene saved Reinhold Pentzek from drowning, Trent Lakes, Ontario, January 30, 2015. Pentzek, 54, was riding an all-terrain vehicle when he broke through the ice atop Buckhorn Lake, creating a hole about 100 feet from the nearer bank. He attempted without success to climb back onto solid ice. Witnessing the accident from his cottage on that bank, Greene, 54, hospital administrator, grabbed an extension cord and a household mop with a four-foot-long handle and immediately responded out onto the ice. Daylight was waning, and the air temperature was 4 degrees with a wind chill below zero. Extending the sponge-end of the mop to Pentzek, who outweighed him, Greene made repeated attempts to pull him out of the open water, on two occasions Pentzek again breaking through the ice. After successfully pulling Pentzek atop the ice, Greene returned to his cottage to alert help. He went back onto the ice with blankets for Pentzek and waited with him there until firefighters responded shortly and removed him to safety. Greene recovered from a bruised knee.
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RONALDO J. FREITAS
Ronaldo J. Freitas saved Soraya A. Alivandi from burning, Somerville, Massachusetts, March 20, 2015. Alivandi, 26, unconscious and badly injured, remained in the driver’s seat of her car after an accident in which the vehicle was struck from behind by another car and broke into flames at its rear end. Freitas, 45, contractor, was stopped in traffic nearby and witnessed the crash. He immediately ran to Alivandi’s car and tried to open its driver’s door as flames were issuing along that side of the vehicle. Unsuccessful, he ran to the passenger side of the car but likewise was unable to open that door. A small window behind the door was broken out, and Freitas reached through it and unlocked the door and then opened it. Despite flames having reached the interior of the vehicle from the rear and spreading forward, Freitas leaned into the car and unbuckled Alivandi’s safety belt. Entering it completely, he knelt on the front passenger seat, grasped Alivandi about the shoulders, and, backing, pulled her from the car. He dragged her to safety moments before an increase of flames engulfed the vehicle. Alivandi required hospitalization for treatment of her injuries, but she was not burned.
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GARY E. RICHIE
JACOB DANIEL RICHIE
Palm Bay, Florida
Gary E. and Jacob Daniel Richie rescued occupants of a minivan from assault, Orlando, Florida, January 24, 2015. After being involved in a minor vehicular accident at night, one of the drivers exited her vehicle, a minivan, to confront the driver of the other vehicle, a pickup truck. The driver of the pickup leaned through his window and pointed a handgun at her. About then, a passenger in the minivan exited that vehicle, as did the passenger of the pickup, who was armed with a shotgun. Gary, 54, distribution manager, and his son, Jacob, 35, electrician, were walking with family members nearby and came upon the escalating confrontation. Seeing the pickup passenger’s shotgun, Gary charged him, grasped the weapon, and wrestled it from him. When that assailant attempted to regain possession of the gun, Jacob intervened, pinning the assailant against the truck as Gary backed away with the weapon. Meanwhile, the driver of the pickup was approaching the driver of the minivan. Jacob intervened there, separating them, and then resumed controlling the other assailant. Police responded shortly and secured the scene, arresting the assailants. Gary suffered scrapes, bruises, and a minor head injury, from which he fully recovered.
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Brady Olson saved an indeterminate number of people from assault, Lacey, Washington, April 27, 2015. A 16-year-old boy took a fully loaded .357 revolver to the high school he attended and fired a shot into the ceiling of a stairway. He then descended the stairs to the school’s commons area, where students and others were gathered before the start of classes. Olson, 43, teacher, was in the commons when the shot was fired and immediately ran the 50 feet to the stairs. The assailant proceeded into the commons, passing Olson, and fired another shot, also into the ceiling. Olson approached the assailant, grasped his gun hand, and tackled him to the floor. Pinning the assailant, Olson got possession of the revolver and removed it from him. Other men who were responding secured the weapon and helped restrain the assailant until police arrived shortly and arrested him. Olson sustained a minor injury to a finger but recovered.
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KIRK P. YANKASKY
JONATHAN T. YANKASKY
Kirk P. Yankasky and Jonathan T. Yankasky attempted to rescue a woman and her son from assault, Scottsdale, Arizona, February 3, 2015. A 5-year-old boy screamed for help as his mother, 33, struggled against an assailant, just inside the front door of their house, for control of a loaded pistol. Working at a construction site across the street, Kirk, 49, and his son, Jonathan, 22, plumbers, heard him and ran to the scene. Seeing the woman and the assailant through the doorway, Kirk entered the house and joined in the struggle for the weapon as Jonathan shielded the boy just outside the house. The gun fired during the struggle, after which Kirk took possession of it. As the assailant then went deeper into the house, Kirk guided the woman outside and retreated with her, Jonathan guiding the boy toward the street. The assailant then exited the house and threatened them with a loaded revolver. Kirk attempted to shoot him with the pistol, but it did not fire. The assailant advanced, following them across the street. There, he struck the woman on the head with the revolver, taking her to the ground. Kirk and Jonathan ran to their nearby van and started toward the scene with it for use against the assailant, but the assailant fatally wounded the woman and then himself. The boy was then secured by others.
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