PITTSBURGH, PA, May 11, 2006—In its second award announcement of 2006, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 16 individuals as recipients of the CARNEGIE MEDAL. The medal is given to those throughout the United States and Canada who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.
The heroes announced today bring to 36 the number of individuals who have been recognized in 2006 to date and to 8,997 the total 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 $4,000. Throughout the 102 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $28.6 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.
Three of the awardees are teenagers: Terry Miller of Ionia, Mich., was 15 when he entered his neighbor’s burning mobile home in 2004 to rescue two young children. At age 16 last year, Thomas J. Moehler of Bayville, N.J., saved a 10-year-old neighbor boy from an attacking dog, and Jonathan Pinque, also 16, pulled two friends through the sun roof of a car that had submerged in a pond on March 20, 2005, near his Toney, Ala., home. As awardees of the medal, the three young men become eligible for scholarship assistance should they pursue post-secondary education.
- Kenneth LeRoy Joseph, Albany, Ore.
- Robert H. Blasko, North Huntingdon, Pa.
- Jonathan Pinque, Toney, Ala.
- Terry Miller, Ionia, Mich.
- Thomas J. Moehler, Bayville, N.J.
- Christopher T. Cogswell, Hanson, Mass.
- Patrick W. Mott, Rathdrum, Idaho
- Raymond J. Desadier, Colmesneil, Texas
- Jarrett Michael Cherok, Whitaker, Pa.
- Anthony S. LaRock, Burt, N.Y.
- Keith Leuci, Paris, Tenn.
- Jack Timothy Dicus, Destin, Fla.
- Christopher N. White, Carrollton, Ga.
- James Lonnie Hensley, Skygusty, W.Va.
- John R. Lane, Woodlawn, Va.
- Anthony D. Blaskoski, St. Charles, Ill.
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
Kenneth LeRoy Joseph
Kenneth LeRoy Joseph rescued Barbara A. Miller and Rita M. Baker from an attacking dog, Albany, Oregon, March 24, 2005. Miller, 56, was attacked by an adult male pit bull when she went to the house of a neighbor, Baker, 56. The 70-pound dog pulled Miller from the porch and bit her about the arms as she lay in the front yard. Baker attempted to get the dog off Miller, but it retained its hold. Miller’s daughter responded and struck the dog, which then bit her. Joseph, 49, salvage technician, who lived in the neighborhood, heard the attack and responded to the scene. He ran to Miller and repeatedly attempted to pry the dog’s mouth from Miller’s arm by choking it, but the dog bit him on a finger. Joseph removed his belt, placed it around the dog’s neck, and pulled the dog off Miller. He secured it in Baker’s house, but it then attacked Baker when she entered the house for a blanket for Miller. Joseph entered the house and pulled the dog from Baker, enabling her to flee. Joseph followed, again leaving the dog in the house. Authorities arrived and secured the dog, which was later euthanized. The three women were taken by ambulance to the hospital, where they were treated for bite wounds and related injury. Joseph sustained a puncture wound to his finger for which he was treated at the scene.
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Robert H. Blasko
North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania
Robert H. Blasko rescued a woman from assault, White Oak, Pennsylvania, November 11, 2003. A 46-year-old woman was arguing with her boyfriend, 36, in the parking lot of a strip mall when the boyfriend grabbed hold of her and began to shake her. Blasko, 71, retired tool designer, was sitting inside his vehicle parked nearby and witnessed the assault. He exited the vehicle and approached the couple, yelling at the man to distract him. Blasko and the assailant then engaged in a struggle, after which Blasko took a few steps back. The assailant suddenly set upon him, striking him repeatedly in the face and sending him hard to the pavement. The enraged man then fled but was shortly apprehended by police. Blasko required extensive hospitalization for treatment, including surgery, of severe injuries, and a period of rehabilitation.
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Jonathan Pinque helped to save Ricardo Jaramillo II and Jacob B. Green from drowning, Toney, Alabama, March 20, 2005. Unconscious, Ricardo and Jacob, both 15, remained in an automobile that had left the roadway, entered a pond, and sunk in water about six feet deep. Jonathan, 16, high school student, was at his nearby home when he witnessed the accident. He immediately ran to the scene and entered the pond, swam about 15 feet to the vehicle, and attempted to open the passenger door. Needing a tool, Jonathan left the pond and obtained a metal bar. He re-entered the pond, having removed his wet jeans, and returned to the vehicle, where he mounted its roof and broke out the sunroof with the bar. Lying on the submerged car, Jonathan reached inside and found Ricardo. He pulled him head first through the sunroof, then handed him off to another boy who had arrived. Again reaching inside the car, Jonathan located Jacob, who outweighed him, and pulled him through the sunroof, then helped return him to the bank. Both Ricardo and Jacob required hospital treatment for their injuries, as did Jonathan, who sustained multiple cuts. All recovered.
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Terry Miller rescued Rachel Majewski and Bradley Hammond from burning, Hastings, Michigan, September 7, 2004. Rachel, 4, and her brother, Bradley, 9 months old, were inside their family’s mobile home after a gas explosion there set fire to the kitchen and living room. When a neighbor who was nearby, Terry, 15, high school student, learned that the children were inside, he entered the burning living room through the mobile home’s front door. He heard Rachel crying in the adjacent kitchen and went to her. Terry carried Rachel outside and then re-entered in search of Bradley. Repelled by smoke, he exited the mobile home but entered a third time. Hearing Bradley crying, Terry moved through the smoke and found Bradley in his crib in a far corner of the living room. Terry picked him up and took him outside. Rachel and Bradley were badly burned and required extensive hospitalization. Terry showed signs of smoke inhalation, and he recovered. The mobile home was destroyed in the fire.
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Thomas J. Moehler
Bayville, New Jersey
Thomas J. Moehler rescued Mark K. Stanfield from an attacking dog, Bayville, New Jersey, April 29, 2005. By bicycle, Mark, 10, was attempting to flee a 75-pound dog, a pit bull mix, that had been menacing him. The dog in pursuit, he pedaled through his neighborhood to the home of friends, where, screaming for help, he turned into the driveway. The dog attacked him there, biting him severely about the feet and legs. Thomas, 16, high school student, who lived at that house, responded through the front door. Although he was wearing a cast on his right forearm and was dressed only in shorts, Thomas ran to the dog, grasped it about the torso, and pulled it off Mark, enabling him to flee to safety. The dog then turned on Thomas, chasing him into the street, where he fell. The dog bit Thomas about the left knee, ankle, and foot before Thomas regained his footing and jumped atop a car parked in the driveway. Police arrived shortly and captured the dog, which was later destroyed. Mark and Thomas were taken to the hospital, where they were treated for multiple bite wounds.
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Christopher T. Cogswell
Christopher T. Cogswell saved Wilton E. Wetter from burning, Hanson, Massachusetts, October 21, 2004. Wetter, 37, remained in the driver’s seat of the car he had been driving, after a nighttime accident in which the car left the roadway, went down a steep embankment, and caught fire in its front end. Cogswell, 36, auctioneer, who lived at the scene, heard the accident and, after reporting it, responded to the top of the embankment, where he saw the crashed and burning car. He descended the embankment to the vehicle, where he found Wetter awake but not making any effort to exit, despite Cogswell’s urging. A young tree blocked access to the driver’s door. Cogswell bent the tree trunk away from the car, then with difficulty opened the door and wedged it against the trunk. He unfastened Wetter’s safety belt, then struggled to pull Wetter out. Spreading flames grew and lapped into the car through a gap at the windshield. With Wetter free of the vehicle, Cogswell started to ascend the embankment but had to return to the car to get Wetter to follow him. They made it safely to the roadway as flames filled the interior of the vehicle. Wetter required hospital treatment, and Cogswell sustained bruises, from which he recovered.
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Patrick W. Mott
Patrick W. Mott attempted to save Henry W. Scheller from drowning, Twin Lakes, Idaho, February 27, 2005. While ice fishing, Scheller, 74, broke through weak ice on Lower Twin Lake at a point about 700 feet from the closer bank. He shouted for help. Working outdoors at his home on that bank, Mott, 65, retired logger, heard him. As his wife called for help, Mott assembled rope and a metal dinghy and took to the ice, pushing the dinghy toward Scheller. At a point about 10 feet from him, Mott too broke through the ice, and his efforts to climb from the open water were unsuccessful. Firefighters arrived shortly and pulled Mott, then Scheller, from the water. Mott returned unaided to the bank as firefighters removed Scheller to safety there. Scheller received medical attention, and Mott was cold but uninjured.
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Raymond J. Desadier
Raymond J. Desadier saved Betty W. Durham from drowning, Jasper, Texas, September 29, 2004. Durham, 57, was the driver of a van that, in an accident, left the roadway, entered the Angelina River, and sank. She emerged from the van and was swept downstream by the swift current. A coworker, Desadier, 25, business manager, had been driving behind Durham and witnessed the accident. He stopped at the scene and ran to the riverbank, where he saw Durham, who was a nonswimmer, at the surface of the water, which was about 14 feet deep. Fully clothed, Desadier entered the river and swam to Durham, who was about 60 feet from the bank. He grasped her by the hand and swam against the current back toward the bank. Two other men had arrived by then and met them in wadable water, and they removed Durham from the river, Desadier following after pausing to catch his breath. Durham was taken to the hospital, where she was treated for scratches and bruises, from which she recovered.
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Jarrett Michael Cherok
Jarrett Michael Cherok rescued Bruce A. Nedrow from burning, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 8, 2005. Nedrow, 47, lay unconscious on the floor of a bedroom on the second floor of his row house, after fire broke out in that room and filled the floor with dense smoke. From his home nearby, Cherok, 23, drywall contractor, saw flames issuing from the house, in which his sister lived also. Dressed only in jeans, Cherok ran to the scene, where he broke in the front door. He found his sister on the second floor and carried her outside, then, despite showing effects of being exposed to the smoke, he re-entered the house and crawled upstairs in search of Nedrow. Seeing Nedrow’s feet in the burning bedroom, Cherok crawled to him, grasped him about the lower legs, and dragged him to the top of the stairs. Nearly exhausted, he called for help, then resumed the rescue by dragging Nedrow downstairs and outside to safety. Nedrow sustained extensive burns and, hospitalized, died almost two months later. Cherok suffered smoke inhalation but did not require treatment. He recovered.
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Anthony S. LaRock
Burt, New York
Anthony S. LaRock saved Kelly P. Chellino and rescued Mary L. Sears from burning, Lewiston, New York, April 14, 2004. Chellino, 35, was the driver, and Sears, 21, a passenger, of a sport utility vehicle that, in a nighttime highway accident, overturned onto its passenger side and lay partially in a ditch along the road shoulder. Fire erupted on the vehicle. Dispatched to the scene, LaRock, 34, state trooper, arrived to find the vehicle’s exposed undercarriage covered by flame. He approached the windshield and saw Chellino, his safety belt still attached, in the driver’s seat and flames at the firewall. Reaching through the window of the driver’s door, LaRock cut Chellino’s safety belt, then, with some difficulty, pulled him through the window and to the ground. After dragging Chellino away, he returned to the vehicle for Sears, who lay on the ground at its rear, her legs still inside the wreckage. To avoid the flames, which had spread inside the vehicle and were blowing across its top, LaRock stood in the ditch, crouching. He reached inside the wreckage and pulled Sears out, then dragged her away. As a third person remained inside the vehicle, LaRock attempted to fight the fire with portable extinguishers but with little result. Chellino and Sears were taken to the hospital, where Sears was detained for treatment of serious injuries. The third victim died at the scene. LaRock was treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation, from which he recovered, but he incurred also an injury to his wrist, which required surgery. He was disabled for 10 months.
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Keith Leuci rescued James E. Barnes from burning, Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, August 20, 2004. Barnes, 26, was the passenger of an automobile that collided with a sport utility vehicle entering its lane. The sport utility vehicle then struck another car and landed atop it. All three vehicles caught fire, with flames issuing from the rear and passenger side of the car Barnes was in, and spreading to its interior. Leuci, 38, carpenter, came upon the scene. Responding to the wreckage, he heard a scream, then saw Barnes attempting to climb through the window of the driver’s door. Although he himself was injured in a highway accident just weeks earlier, Leuci ran to that car’s driver’s door. He attempted to open it but found it jammed. Leuci then bent down the top of the doorframe, reached through the opening, and grasped Barnes. Flames were growing inside the car and heat was blistering as Leuci tugged on Barnes and pulled him from the vehicle. They fell to the pavement. Leuci and others took Barnes to safety as flames virtually engulfed the vehicle, the driver of which died at the scene. Barnes was hospitalized for treatment of his significant injuries, which included severe burns. Leuci also required medical attention, for minor burns and other injuries.
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Jack Timothy Dicus
Christopher N. White
Jack Timothy Dicus and Christopher N. White rescued Jamie M. Daigle from an attacking shark, Miramar Beach, Florida, June 25, 2005. Jamie, 14, was swimming in the Gulf of Mexico when a large shark attacked her, inflicting severe wounds. On his surfboard in the vicinity, Dicus, 54, computer network specialist, was alerted to the attack. He paddled to Jamie as the attack continued, then dismounted the board and placed Jamie on it. The shark had remained nearby, and when it approached the surfboard, Dicus struck it twice with his fist. He then began to paddle the board toward shore. Meanwhile, White, 23, environmental health specialist, was on the beach when he heard shouts for help. He entered the water and started out, en route being given an inflatable raft. White swam the raft to Jamie and Dicus, then, with Jamie aboard the raft, the men started toward shore with it, Dicus paddling on his surfboard. The shark returned to them and swam in close proximity. Dicus hit the surface of the water to distract the shark, and it left the area. The men continued to shore with Jamie and removed her from the water with the help of others. Jamie could not be revived and died at the scene of her injuries. White was nearly exhausted after the rescue but shortly recovered.
78555-8993 / 78690-8994
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James Lonnie Hensley
Skygusty, West Virginia
James Lonnie Hensley saved Larry R. Beavers from burning, Kimball, West Virginia, December 16, 2004. Conscious but severely injured, Beavers, 53, remained in the driver’s seat of the pickup truck he had been driving, after a head-on collision with another vehicle. Fire broke out in the pickup’s engine compartment and began to spread, and smoke filled the cab. Driving nearby, Hensley, 56, disabled coalminer, heard the accident and responded to the scene. After several attempts at opening both doors, Hensley pulled hard on the passenger door, and it gave way. He then leaned inside the pickup cab, grasped Beavers, and, although Beavers outweighed him, pulled him from the vehicle. He dragged Beavers off the road to safety. Beavers required hospitalization for treatment of his injuries, but he was not burned. Hensley also was taken to the hospital, where he was treated for smoke inhalation. He fully recovered.
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John R. Lane
Woodlawn, West Virginia
John R. Lane saved George E. Rodgers from electrocution, Woodlawn, Virginia, February 15, 2005. Rodgers, 46, was servicing an elevator at the school where Lane, 57, was the head custodian. Rodgers, in the hall at the elevator’s open doors, worked on equipment atop the lowered elevator car while Lane stood nearby to keep students away from the work site. Rodgers accidentally touched an energized component and received an electric shock. Electricity arced to his hands, and he was unable to free himself. Observing the situation, Lane immediately grasped Rodgers by a shoulder and pulled, then pushed, him away, breaking the contact. He too received an electric shock, when he grasped Rodgers. Lane lowered Rodgers to a seated position, then left to summon help. Both men received medical treatment for effects of electrical shock, which, in Rodgers’s case, included burns to both hands and to a leg. Each missed a few days’ work, but they recovered.
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Anthony D. Blaskoski
St. Charles, Illinois
Anthony D. Blaskoski rescued William B. Gunderson and attempted to rescue Emma Gunderson from burning, Elburn, Illinois, March 2, 2005. Gunderson, 49, and his daughter Emma, 5, were inside the family’s two-story house after fire broke out on the first floor and filled the house with dense smoke. Driving nearby, Blaskoski, 45, sales manager, saw smoke and flames issuing from the house. He stopped at the scene, where he learned that Gunderson and Emma were still inside. Despite rapidly growing and advancing flames, Blaskoski entered through the front door and started to crawl through a hall. He retreated for air, then re-entered, finding Gunderson on the floor near the foot of the stairs. He attempted to pull Gunderson from the house, but Gunderson appeared to Blaskoski to be caught. After retreating again for air, Blaskoski entered the house a third time, ran to Gunderson, and, pulling him free, dragged him to the front door and outside to safety. Blaskoski entered the house a fourth time, in search of Emma, but was unsuccessful in the attempt. Responding firefighters recovered her from a second-floor bedroom. She was hospitalized for treatment of burn injuries but died the next day. Gunderson also required hospital care, as did Blaskoski, who had inhaled smoke and injured a shoulder during the rescue.
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