PITTSBURGH, PA, MAY 5, 2005—In its second award announcement of 2005, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 18 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.
Four of the awardees died in the performance of their heroic acts, including Domenic G. Giunta, who helped to save a boy from drowning in the Gulf of Mexico off Honeymoon Island near Dunedin, Fla., on July 21, 2004. Fishing at the scene with his family, Giunta, 55, of nearby Lutz, Fla., responded to the aid of four brothers caught by a strong current and succumbed while supporting one of the boys. Giunta was a retired educator.
The heroes announced today bring to 33 the number of persons who have been recognized by the Commission in 2005 and to 8,902 the total number since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission President Mark Laskow stated that each of the awardees or their survivors also will receive a grant of $3,500. Throughout the 101 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $27.7 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.
The awardees are:
- Douglas Robert Peterson, Maple Park, Ill.
- Kevin D. Shaw, deceased, Ellsworth, Kan.
- Domenic G. Giunta, deceased, Lutz, Fla.
- Thomas F. Rutecki, Lockport, Ill.
- William Eugene Jones, deceased, Jonesboro, Ga.
- Sharon Gardner, Oro Valley, Ariz.
- Christine A. Provencal, Cumberland, R.I.
- Steven P. Clothier II, Conway, S.C.
- Dawn Marie Williams, Franklin Park, N.J.
- Robert B. Gottschalk, Richmond, Va.
- Seth T. Stein, Orlando, Fla.
- Kenneth H. Slade, deceased, Wellesley, Mass.
- Joseph Anthony Alaimo, West Palm Beach, Fla.
- Mark J. Friedrich, Edinburgh, Ind.
- Edward L. Hudson, Seymour, Ind.
- Terry E. George, New Bethlehem, Pa.
- Delmar R. Burkholder, New Bethlehem, Pa.
- Courtney A. Frederick, Plainfield, Ind.
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
Douglas Robert Peterson
Maple Park, Illinois
Douglas Robert Peterson saved Lela A. Schroyer from being struck by a train, Maple Park, Illinois, March 22, 2004. Schroyer, 90, was trapped inside her car, which was straddling a railroad track after it struck a train on the adjacent track. Peterson, 59, disabled machinist, saw the car and reported it, then, investigating, found Schroyer inside. As he was attempting to remove her through the driver’s doorway, Peterson saw a freight train approaching on the same track, traveling about 65 m.p.h. He resumed his efforts at removing Schroyer by leaning into the car, grasping her by a leg and an arm, and pulling on her. They fell to the ballast as the train bore down at slightly diminished speed, its brakes and horn applied by the engineer. Regaining his footing, Peterson moved Schroyer to the other track as the train struck the car and took it 240 feet down the track. Schroyer was hospitalized two weeks for treatment of broken ribs and bruises. She recovered.
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Kevin D. Shaw, deceased
Kevin D. Shaw died after saving Helena T. Wilkinson from burning, Ellsworth, Kansas, August 15, 2004. Wilkinson, 23, remained in the cab of her pickup truck after an accident in which the vehicle left the highway, overturned, then came to rest upright and aflame in its engine compartment. Traveling on the same highway, Shaw, 48, corrections officer, witnessed the accident. He stopped at the scene, approached the burning truck, and, despite growing flames, attempted to open its passenger door. Wilkinson extended her arms through the rear window of the truck’s cab, and Shaw grasped them and pulled her from the vehicle. He took her to a point of safety away from the truck, then collapsed to the ground. Paramedics took him and Wilkinson to the hospital, where Wilkinson was treated for her injuries. She recovered. Shaw could not be revived; he had died of a heart attack.
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Domenic G. Giunta, deceased
Domenic G. Giunta died after helping to save a boy from drowning, Dunedin, Florida, July 21, 2004. A young boy was wading atop a sandbar in the Gulf of Mexico with his three brothers and their grandmother when a strong current pulled them into deeper water. They shouted for help. Giunta, 55, retired educator, and his family were fishing just off the beach in the vicinity when they were alerted to the situation. Giunta, his daughter, and others responded, the daughter swimming out to the boy, who grasped her about the neck. Giunta reached them and took the boy from her. He supported the boy but submerged, then was relieved of him by the grandmother. The boy and the other members of his party and their rescuers all reached shore safely. Giunta was removed from the water by others, and resuscitation was attempted. He was taken to the hospital but could not be revived, as he had drowned.
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Thomas F. Rutecki
Thomas F. Rutecki saved Rosetta A. Wiedemann from being struck by a train, Downers Grove, Illinois, March 2, 2004. Wiedemann, 65, was crossing a railroad track on her electric scooter when its front wheel became lodged in the gap between the wooden crosswalk and a rail. She attempted to dislodge the scooter but without success. From the platform of the nearby train station, Rutecki, 55, communications specialist, saw her, then saw a train in the distance approaching on the track. He ran to Wiedemann and attempted to free the scooter, but his efforts likewise were futile. As the train bore down at 70 m.p.h. and was then about 400 feet from the scene, Rutecki pulled Wiedemann from the track to where she fell on the sidewalk. Rutecki protected Wiedemann with his leather jacket as the train struck the scooter within seconds, sending debris flying. Wiedemann was treated at the scene for abrasions, and she recovered.
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William Eugene Jones, deceased
William Eugene Jones died after helping to save a girl from drowning, Panama City Beach, Florida, July 2, 2003. While wading in the Gulf of Mexico, two 17-year-old girls screamed for help as a strong current pushed them farther from shore. Warning flags had been posted on the beach, as surf conditions were rough from the passage of a tropical storm two days earlier. From the beach, Jones, 54, national distribution manager, and others heard the cries and responded to the waterline. Jones and others then ran into the water and began to swim toward the girls. Jones reached one of them and pushed her toward another responding rescuer, who then started toward shore with her. A responding police officer rescued the girls, and one of the other rescuers, with the use of a personal watercraft. Jones, meanwhile, was seen floating farther from shore, and he was recovered by others. He was taken to the hospital, where he died of drowning.
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Oro Valley, Arizona
Sharon Gardner helped to rescue Margaret V. Wiles from attacking dogs, Tucson, Arizona, October 8, 2003. Wiles, 54, was walking her dog through a residential neighborhood when she and the dog were attacked by two pit bull dogs, one weighing 50 pounds and the other, 30. The larger pit bull bit her on the leg as she secured her own dog and tried to fight off the attacking dogs with a leash. She screamed for help. Gardner, 57, administrative assistant, was approaching the scene in her automobile when she saw the attack. She left her car and ran to Wiles, positioning herself between Wiles and the attacking dogs and yelling at the dogs to distract them. Two other motorists stopped at the scene and joined in the rescue, enabling Wiles and her dog to secure refuge in a car. The dogs then turned on Gardner, the larger dog biting her on her right leg, and she fell to the pavement. One of the other responding motorists struck the dogs repeatedly with her purse. The dogs retreated. Wiles sustained minor injury, but Gardner required hospital treatment, including suturing, for her bite wounds.
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Christine A. Provencal
Cumberland, Rhode Island
Christine A. Provencal saved Marie A. Lamour from drowning, Providence, Rhode Island, December 9, 2003. Lamour, 53, a nonswimmer, bobbed in the frigid water of the Providence River after escaping her vehicle, which had slid off the highway due to wintry conditions and entered the river. Provencal, 40, registered nurse, was driving on the highway and stopped at the scene, where she was alerted to the situation. Provencal left her vehicle and descended to the riverbank, where she removed her jacket and shoes. Although the air temperature was only in the 20s, Provencal entered the water and swam about 30 feet to Lamour. She grasped Lamour by her jacket and swam back to the bank, where others assisted them from the water. Both women were taken to the hospital, where they were treated for hypothermia. They recovered.
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Steven P. Clothier II
Conway, South Carolina
Steven P. Clothier II saved James T. Shaw from suffocation, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, December 8, 2003. Shaw, 42, sat injured and dazed in a cloud of chlorine gas in the laundry room of a large hotel after an explosion in that room that was caused by the accidental mixing of two incompatible chemicals. Clothier, 29, police officer, was parked nearby and heard the explosion. He responded to the hotel and entered it through a door that opened into a room off the laundry room. He saw Shaw on the floor about 17 feet ahead and started through the vapor cloud to him, but he was repulsed by the strong fumes and returned outside. Re-entering, he went to Shaw, pulled him to his feet, and walked him toward the door. They were met near the door by a responding firefighter, who took Shaw from Clothier, and all three exited the building. Shaw was hospitalized for treatment of injuries, including broken bones, received during the explosion. Clothier was hospitalized overnight for treatment of exposure to the gas. He did not resume his normal work routine for two months.
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Dawn Marie Williams
Franklin Park, New Jersey
Dawn Marie Williams attempted to save Christopher W. McPhatter from burning, Maplewood, New Jersey, December 16, 2003. Christopher, 7, was in the basement of his family’s house after fire broke out there at night. All other occupants of the house fled, then realized that Christopher was missing, and efforts to find him were thwarted by deteriorating fire conditions. On duty in the neighborhood, Williams, 32, police officer, responded to the scene and learned that Christopher was still inside. Although she had no protective equipment, Williams entered the house through the front door, despite intense heat and dense smoke that precluded visibility, and searched for Christopher. Forced back outside, Williams attempted to access the basement through a side door, but again she was unsuccessful. On a third attempt, Williams re-entered the house through the front door and searched further. Smoke conditions and rapidly spreading flames forced her outside, where she was overcome by effects of inhaling smoke. Firefighters then arriving recovered Christopher from the basement. He was taken to the hospital but succumbed to effects of the fire. Williams too was taken to the hospital, where she was admitted to the burn intensive care unit in serious condition for smoke inhalation and respiratory failure. She was detained five days and was unable to work for two months, but she recovered.
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Robert B. Gottschalk
Seth T. Stein
Robert B. Gottschalk helped to save Aja D. Queen, and Seth T. Stein saved Jamia N. and Jatae K. Queen and helped to save Aja D. Queen, from burning, New Kent, Virginia, April 30, 2004. Aja Queen, 25, remained in the driver’s seat of her car after an accident in which the vehicle left the highway, entered a wooded median, and caught fire in its engine area. Her daughter Jamia, 5, was in the back seat of the car, and her son Jatae, 6, was in the front seat. Motorists Gottschalk, 60, psychiatrist, and Stein, 24, medical supplies salesman, who had been driving behind Queen, both witnessed the accident and stopped at the scene. Gottschalk approached the burning car and, despite growing flames, leaned inside through the driver’s doorway and unfastened Queen’s safety belt. He then grasped Queen about the arms and pulled her from the vehicle. As Queen outweighed him and was otherwise immobilized by her injuries, Gottschalk remained with her as Stein opened the rear door on the driver’s side, leaned into the car, and pulled Jamia from the vehicle after first releasing her safety belt. Returning, Stein fully entered the back-seat area and freed Jatae, whose leg was caught in the wreckage. He pulled Jatae into the back seat, then out of the car. Stein took both children back to the highway, then returned to the car and with Gottschalk took Queen to safety. Flames by then had spread throughout the inside of the vehicle and issued high above it. Queen was hospitalized for treatment of her injuries, but she was not burned. She recovered.
77667-8892 / 77668-8893
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Kenneth H. Slade, deceased
Joseph Anthony Alaimo
West Palm Beach, Florida
Kenneth H. Slade died after helping to save Abigail P. Slade from drowning, and Joseph Anthony Alaimo helped to save Abigail, Palm Beach, Florida, March 21, 2004. Abigail, 10, and her cousin were swimming in the Atlantic Ocean when they were caught by a strong current that pulled them farther from shore. On the beach in that vicinity, their paternal uncle, Slade, 48, attorney, saw them struggling and ran into the water for them, as did Alaimo, 24, university student, and several other men. Slade reached Abigail and towed her toward shore, then he was relieved of her by Alaimo. Alaimo took Abigail a distance, then, overcome by exhaustion, was separated from her. He was rescued from the surf, and Abigail likewise reached shore safely. Slade lost consciousness and was removed from the water by others. He and Alaimo were taken to the hospital, where Slade died of drowning. Alaimo was detained six days for treatment of nearly drowning, and he recovered. Abigail and her cousin, who was rescued by others, also were taken to the hospital for treatment, and they too recovered.
77566-8894 / 77592-8895
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Mark J. Friedrich
Edward L. Hudson
Mark J. Friedrich rescued Katie R. Shelton from two attacking dogs, and Edward L. Hudson helped to rescue Mark, Seymour, Indiana, January 26, 2004. Katie, 8, was walking along a residential street when she was attacked by two Rottweilers, each weighing more than 80 pounds. The dogs took her to the ground and bit her repeatedly. Mark, 14, student, who lived at the scene, saw the attack and immediately responded from his family’s house, taking two sticks with him. He struck the dogs repeatedly with the sticks, but then the dogs turned on him and attacked, one of them biting him in the arm. Another neighbor, Hudson, a retired factory worker who was five days from his 80th birthday, responded with a stick he had obtained from his woodpile and struck one of the dogs. When a police officer approached about then, the dogs turned on the officer, who shot both of them. The dogs fled but were tracked down and dispatched. Katie and Mark were taken to the hospital, where they were treated for their bite wounds. They recovered.
77507-8896 / 77653-8897
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Terry E. George
New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Delmar R. Burkholder
New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Terry E. George and Delmar R. Burkholder rescued Alexandria D. Hopper from burning, New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, October 7, 2004. Alexandria, 8, was in a bedroom in one end of her family’s ranch house when leaking natural gas exploded in the basement in early morning. Much of the structure collapsed, and flames broke out on it and began to spread quickly. A neighbor, George, 59, construction estimator, saw the fire while driving by. He stopped at the scene and was reporting the fire when another neighbor who had responded, Burkholder, 22, contractor, informed him that Alexandria and her sister were still in the structure. The men ran to the end of the house containing Alexandria’s bedroom and found the sister sitting just outside the structure, near where a hole had been blown in the bedroom wall. As Burkholder took the sister to safety, George entered the bedroom through the hole and found Alexandria in her bed, trapped there by fallen debris. He tried to free her by attempting to lift the debris and kick apart the bed, but he was unsuccessful. Burkholder then joined him and likewise worked to free Alexandria. As flames encroached, including below them in the basement, overhead in the roof structure, and at points in the bedroom, the men with difficulty pulled Alexandria free. They fled the house with her, Burkholder taking her to safety. Flames shortly engulfed the house, which was destroyed. Alexandria and her sister were hospitalized for treatment of their injuries, Alexandria’s including burns to her hands. They recovered.
77989-8898 / 78066-8899
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Courtney A. Frederick
Courtney A. Frederick rescued Ciera S. Davis from burning, Martinsville, Indiana, May 13, 2004. Ciera, 2, was spending the night with members of her extended family in a one-floor apartment that adjoined a large barn. Early in the morning, leaking propane in the structure exploded, causing major collapse of the apartment unit and eruption of flames, which grew and spread quickly. Frederick, 28, Ciera’s cousin, escaped the building with other family members. A man who responded to the scene saw Ciera in the apartment living room, but she was beyond his grasp as he reached through a window for her. Although she had been burned in the explosion, Frederick re-entered the structure, through a hole that had been created in one of the walls. She crossed the living room, which was on fire, and approached Ciera, having to reach through flames to grasp her. Retracing her steps, Frederick carried Ciera outside to safety. Flames engulfed the apartment, which was destroyed, as was a portion of the barn. Ciera and Frederick required hospitalization for treatment of their burns, Frederick’s including third-degree to her upper and lower extremities. They recovered.
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