PITTSBURGH, PA, SEPTEMBER 23, 1999—In its fourth award announcement of 1999, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 22 individuals from throughout the United States and Canada as recipients of the Carnegie Medal. The bronze medal is given to persons who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. Six of the awardees died in the performance of their heroic acts.
The heroes announced today bring to 8,321 the total number of awards made since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission President Robert W. Off stated that each of the awardees or their survivors will receive also a grant of $3,000. Throughout the 95 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $23.7 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.
The awardees are:
- Frank B. Boeger, deceased, Sterling Heights, Mich.
- Odette Tremblay, Chicoutimi, Que.
- Jessica R. Richardson, Belleville, Ill.
- Daryl Elder, Titusville, Fla.
- Jerald Bowman, Cocoa, Fla.
- Barry Pitt, Draffenville, Ky.
- Nelson W. Baker, Jr., deceased, Patton, Pa.
- James A. Shannon, Plymouth, Mass.
- Gerald David Lloyd, deceased, Salinas, Calif.
- Robert D. DeLargy, Bonne Terre, Mo.
- David Hammond, Bonne Terre, Mo.
- Christopher A. P. Smith, deceased, Aylmer, Ont.
- Thomas Shannon McKeough, Hastings, Mich.
- Richard T. Baker, Coopersville, Mich.
- Leslie M. Hough, Coram, N.Y.
- Keith Louis Putnam, deceased, Hanahan, S.C.
- Burnell Gilleland, deceased, Haskell, Texas
- Joseph Patrick Moloney, Parry Sound, Ont.
- Kerry Alfred Osborne, MacTier, Ont.
- Richard Gibson, Acton, Calif.
- Gregory Gobble, Kirkwood, Mo.
- Robert J. Ballentine, Claymont, Del.
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
Frank B. Boeger, deceased
Sterling Heights, Michigan
Frank B. Boeger died helping to save Aline P. Lootens from drowning, Ludington, Michigan, August 15, 1998. Aline, 9, was swimming in Lake Michigan when she encountered difficulty in the rough water. From atop a submerged sand bar nearby, Boeger, 67, retired school administrator, and two others immediately responded to her. After their unsuccessful attempts to rescue Aline, the others returned to shore, with difficulty. Other men responded; one swam out to Aline and Boeger, finding Boeger keeping Aline afloat. That man took Aline toward shore, others then assisting in her rescue. Next seen floating face down in the water, Boeger was removed from the lake. He could not be revived, as he had drowned.
Back to Top
Odette Tremblay helped to rescue Pierre Gauthier from burning, l’Étape, Quebec, March 5, 1997. The automobile in which Gauthier, 49, was a front-seat passenger collided with another vehicle. Gauthier was knocked unconscious to the floor, and flames broke out on the driver’s side of the car’s exterior. Ms. Tremblay, 41, university instructor, and other motorists stopped at the scene. Responding to the burning car, Ms. Tremblay entered it for Gauthier by crawling through the broken window of the front passenger door, the door itself appearing to her to be jammed. Kneeling on the front seat, Ms. Tremblay pulled Gauthier onto the seat. Another woman arrived and pulled open the front passenger door, allowing Ms. Tremblay to exit. Ms. Tremblay and the other woman removed Gauthier from the car, then, joined by a third woman, carried him to safety. Moments later, the car, including its interior, was engulfed by flame. Gauthier was hospitalized for treatment of second- and third-degree burns to a hand, and other injuries.
Back to Top
Jessica R. Richardson
Jessica R. Richardson helped to rescue Brandon M. Robbins from an attacking dog, Belleville, Illinois, March 27, 1998. Brandon, 7, was in the back yard of the house where he and his family were visiting when a large, male, pit bull dog exited the residence and began to attack him. His mother immediately responded and attempted to shield him. A neighbor, Ms. Richardson, 44, balance clerk, heard screaming and barking; she looked outside and saw the dog atop Brandon. Taking a piece of wood with her, Ms. Richardson ran to the scene and struck the dog, causing it to cease its attack on Brandon, who was then taken to safety by his mother. The dog then turned on Ms. Richardson and took her to the ground, where it bit her repeatedly about the arms and hands. Ms. Richardson regained her footing and backed up to a fence bordering the property, the dog pursuing her. Others put a chair over the fence, and when Ms. Richardson stepped onto it, they pulled her over the fence to safety. Brandon was hospitalized for treatment of bite wounds, which required surgery. Ms. Richardson was also hospitalized; detained three days, she too required surgery, for multiple bites to both arms that resulted in nerve damage.
Back to Top
Daryl Elder and Jerald Bowman saved James R. Swanson from drowning, Titusville, Florida, April 16, 1997. In a wildlife refuge, Swanson, 50, was the driver of an automobile that left the highway, entered an adjacent canal, and began to submerge in the murky water, which was five feet deep. Traveling behind Swanson, Elder, 35, lead technician, and a co-worker, Bowman, 30, quality inspector, saw the accident and stopped at the scene. They called out to Swanson as they waited for him to emerge from the car, and when he did not, Elder entered the water and waded toward the vehicle, which was about 30 feet from the bank. While he was en route, he and Bowman saw a seven-foot alligator swimming in the vicinity of the car. Elder paused momentarily, then quickly swam the remaining distance to the car. He mounted it and attempted both to open its doors and kick out a side window. With a hammer that Bowman had secured, Elder broke out the rear window on the driver’s side then attempted to unlock the driver’s door. Despite the alligator remaining in the canal in the immediate vicinity, Bowman also entered the water and waded and swam to the car. After he unlocked the driver’s door, he and Elder opened the door; the car instantly sank to the bottom of the canal, submerging Swanson. With difficulty, Elder and Bowman freed Swanson from the car. They returned him to the bank, the alligator remaining in close proximity. Swanson required hospital treatment, and Elder sustained a laceration to his hand, from which he recovered. A wildlife officer shot and killed the alligator to allow safe access to the vehicle.
73202-8303 / 73203-8304
Back to Top
Barry Pitt rescued Willard E. Burgess from burning, Draffenville, Kentucky, May 5, 1998. Burgess, 69, was inside his mobile home after fire erupted there and spread in the kitchen and living room. The fire was discovered by a neighbor boy, who then alerted another neighbor, Pitt, 37, machinist. Pitt responded to the scene and, despite intense heat inside the mobile home, entered the structure through the front door. He crawled about 15 feet through dense smoke in the burning living room, or to where he found Burgess lying on the floor. Pitt grasped Burgess about the belt and pulled him to the front door, then onto the porch. He carried Burgess a distance away from the burning structure, then, because of increasing heat, moved him farther away. Burgess was hospitalized for treatment of extensive and serious burns and died four months later.
Back to Top
Nelson W. Baker, Jr., deceased
Nelson W. Baker, Jr., died attempting to save Ryan T. Sharp from drowning, Patton, Pennsylvania, December 19, 1998. While riding a bicycle on ice-covered Chest Creek, Ryan, 14, broke through the ice at a point about 20 feet from the closer bank. He could not extract himself from the creek and, panicking, yelled for help. Baker, 27, mechanic, was walking his dog in the vicinity at the time. Taking a stick with him, Baker crawled onto the ice and proceeded toward Ryan. He extended the stick to Ryan, but then the ice beneath Baker gave way, and he too fell into the creek. Baker grasped Ryan, and a struggle ensued, during which Baker submerged, then resurfaced. He submerged a final time, as did Ryan. Firefighters arrived and, using a boat, located first Ryan, then Baker, and removed them from the creek. Both were taken to the hospital, where each was pronounced dead of drowning and hypothermia.
Back to Top
James A. Shannon
James A. Shannon saved Philip B. Hall, Sr., from burning, Hyde Park, Massachusetts, May 17, 1998. Hall, 83, was lying in bed in a bedroom on the second floor of his family’s two-story house after fire erupted in an adjoining bedroom. Shannon, 28, high school teacher, was driving through the neighborhood when he was alerted to smoke issuing from the house. He knocked on the front door of the house and alerted an occupant to the smoke. Moments later, having learned that Hall remained upstairs, Shannon entered the house and went to the second floor, where dense smoke reduced visibility and made breathing difficult. He proceeded through a hallway, passing the room in which the fire had started, and found Hall in his bedroom. Shannon picked Hall up, positioned him over his shoulder, then exited the bedroom and retraced his course to the stairs. As he passed the burning bedroom, flames by then were issuing into the hallway. Shannon carried Hall down the stairs and outside to safety. Shannon required hospital treatment for smoke inhalation, from which he ultimately recovered.
Back to Top
Gerald David Lloyd, deceased
Gerald David Lloyd died rescuing James P. Gaughran from assault, Seaside, California, June 9, 1997. Gaughran, 45, was at one end of the loading dock of the building in which he was employed when a man standing near the opposite end started to fire a semiautomatic rifle. Stepping to a point on the dock for an unobstructed view of the origin of the noise, Gaughran saw the assailant, who then turned and aimed the rifle at him. The assailant shot Gaughran in the chest, taking him down to one knee. Another employee of the building, Lloyd, 49, plumber, was also on the loading dock, but out of the assailant’s view. As the assailant continued to fire, Lloyd ran to Gaughran, grasped him underneath the arms, and took him through a security door to a point of safety inside the building. Doing so, Lloyd was struck in the left chest by a bullet. He collapsed and died inside the building. Police arrived shortly and apprehended the assailant. Gaughran required extensive treatment for his wound.
Back to Top
Robert D. DeLargy
Bonne Terre, Missouri
Bonne Terre, Missouri
Robert D. DeLargy and David Hammond saved Harold A. and Kelsey A. Johnson from burning, Valles Mines, Missouri, November 24, 1997. Johnson, 44, was the driver, and his daughter Kelsey, 7, the passenger, of an automobile that caught fire in a highway collision. Motorists, including DeLargy, 35, operator, and Hammond, 51, account executive, witnessed the accident and stopped at the scene. They approached the severely damaged car, the rear of which was covered by flames that extended into the back-seat area. DeLargy kicked out the glass in the window of the passenger door, then pulled the door open. Kelsey, who was unconscious, began to fall out of the car, but Hammond, who had responded by then to that side of the car, caught her. Despite spreading flames in the back-seat area, Hammond leaned headfirst into the car and worked to free Johnson. He carried Kelsey to safety as DeLargy then leaned headfirst into the car and freed Johnson. DeLargy pulled Johnson from the car and helped carry him away. Within moments, the car was engulfed by flame. Neither Kelsey nor her father was burned, but Kelsey required extensive hospitalization for severe injuries, and Johnson’s injuries were fatal.
72587-8313 / 72588-8314
Back to Top
Christopher A. P. Smith, deceased
Christopher A. P. Smith died helping attempt to save Jeffrey A. Brasser from drowning, Port Stanley, Ontario, June 16, 1998. At a point about 1,000 feet from shore, Jeffrey, 16, struggled against rough water in Lake Erie to return to the pier from which he had fallen while on a swimming outing with two friends. Smith, 19, student, and others on the pier were alerted. After attempts by Jeffrey’s friends and others to save him were not successful, Smith entered the lake from the pier and swam to him. They struggled to return to the pier, then were separated and submerged. Divers arrived, but deteriorating conditions precluded their entering the water. Jeffrey was removed from the lake later that day, and Smith, the following day. Both had drowned.
Back to Top
Thomas Shannon McKeough
Richard T. Baker
Thomas Shannon McKeough and Richard T. Baker saved James A. and Marie E. Buffington from drowning, Kentwood, Michigan, December 22, 1997. Buffington, 83, was the driver, and his wife, 81, the passenger, of a car that left the highway, went down an embankment, and entered a pond that was partially covered with ice. The car began to sink nose first in water 10 feet deep at a point about 25 feet from the bank. Seeing the car in the pond while driving by, McKeough, 41, tool dealer, stopped at the scene, as did other motorists, including Baker, 36, heavy equipment operator. Removing only his coat and shoes and taking a hammer with him, McKeough waded and swam to the car; Baker likewise removed his boots and swam to the car. With only the back of the car remaining above water, McKeough climbed onto the trunk, broke out the rear window, and helped Mrs. Buffington to exit the car. He then entered the car for Buffington, who, unconscious, remained in the driver’s seat. After withdrawing, McKeough entered the car again, that time fully, and pulled Buffington into the back-seat area with him. McKeough exited the car, then pulled Buffington onto the trunk. Baker took Mrs. Buffington to wadable water while McKeough towed her husband there. Others waded into the pond and took the couple to the bank. Mrs. Buffington was treated for exposure to cold water, and she recovered; her husband underwent surgery for an unrelated condition and died 10 days later.
72380-8310 / 72381-8311
Back to Top
Leslie M. Hough
Coram, New York
Leslie M. Hough saved Trisha M. Carlin from burning, Centereach, New York, June 10, 1998. Ms. Carlin, 31, was semi-conscious in the cab of her burning pickup truck following a highway accident. Hough, 43, real estate agent, who lived nearby, heard the accident, then reported it and responded to the scene with a fire extinguisher. Although he was disabled by a painful back and neck condition, Hough fought the flames with the extinguisher, then attempted to open the driver’s door but found it jammed. He then went to the passenger side of the truck and opened that door. Hough reached his upper body into the cab, grasped Ms. Carlin, and pulled her out of the pickup and to the ground. Flames on the truck increased as Hough dragged Ms. Carlin to safety. Ms. Carlin was hospitalized three days for treatment of her injuries.
Back to Top
Keith Louis Putnam, deceased
Hanahan, South Carolina
Keith Louis Putnam died after saving Layonee R. Phillips from being struck by a train, Hanahan, South Carolina, August 6, 1998. Ms. Phillips, 21, was unconscious in the driver’s seat of a car that, at night, had become stuck on a railroad track at a crossing. A train traveling at about 45 m.p.h. was approaching on the track. Keith, 15, student, was the passenger of another vehicle that approached the crossing. He immediately left that vehicle and ran to the stranded car. He grasped Ms. Phillips, pulled her from the car, and dragged her to safety. The train bearing down on the crossing, Keith returned to the car, looked inside, and turned away. The train then struck the car, which struck Keith, inflicting fatal injury. Ms. Phillips was treated at the hospital for minor injuries.
Back to Top
Burnell Gilleland, deceased
Burnell Gilleland died attempting to save Walter H. McMeans from suffocation, Haskell, Texas, August 3, 1997. McMeans, 23, was helping his grandfather, Gilleland, 70, farmer, to remove a pump from a water well on Gilleland’s property when he lost consciousness inside the well. Unknown by the family, the well’s atmosphere was contaminated by a gas. Gilleland immediately climbed into the well to try to remove McMeans, but he too lost consciousness. Other family members who were present left to summon help. Rescue workers arrived and, using safety equipment, removed Gilleland and McMeans from the well, but neither man could be revived.
Back to Top
Joseph Patrick Moloney
Parry Sound, Ontario
Kerry Alfred Osborne
Joseph Patrick Moloney and Kerry Alfred Osborne saved Donald H. Collings from burning, Pointe au Baril Station, Ontario, April 7, 1997. Collings, 43, was one of three crewmembers in the lead locomotive of a 48-car train that was traveling through a remote area at night. All four of the train’s locomotives and 14 of its cars suddenly derailed when it reached the area where the track bed had collapsed. The lead locomotive came to rest on its right side, partly buried by embankment fill, and a large fire broke out on one of the other locomotives, which had landed atop the lead unit. A large quantity of diesel fuel escaped the locomotives’ ruptured tanks. Collings, badly injured and unconscious, was trapped in the wreckage, but the two other crewmembers, Moloney, 38, brakeman, and Osborne, 40, engineer, escaped the locomotive by climbing through its door, which was then overhead. The train included a tanker car loaded with propane, and, although Moloney and Osborne did not know its status, they remained at the wreckage to free Collings. With his hands, Moloney dug embankment fill that blocked access to a window in the cab of the lead locomotive. He then crawled partially into the cab, grasped Collings, and began to pull him out, aided by Osborne, but Collings remained trapped. Despite flames that extended at least 20 feet into the air from nearby wreckage, Moloney and Osborne returned to the top of the lead locomotive. As Osborne held the door open, Moloney re-entered the cab completely, freed Collings, then exited the cab and, with Osborne, went back to the window. Moloney and Osborne pulled Collings through the window and took him to a point nearby. Rather than flee the scene on foot, Moloney and Osborne remained in the vicinity of the wreckage, despite thick, black smoke from the burning diesel fuel, to tend to Collings as they awaited help. Although it was cold, they removed their own coats to cover him. Help arrived by rail about 90 minutes after the accident, and all three men were taken to the hospital. Collings was detained three days for treatment of his injuries. Moloney and Osborne were treated for bruises and smoke inhalation, and effects of the ordeal caused them to miss 14 months’ work.
73286-8317 / 73287-8318
Back to Top
Richard Gibson saved Michael F. Yamamoto from being struck by an automobile, Sylmar, California, November 10, 1997. In heavy rain, Yamamoto’s automobile struck the center concrete barrier of an interstate highway and came to a stop, facing the wrong direction, in the breakdown lane adjacent to the barrier. Gibson, 39, state highway patrol officer, and another officer drove upon the scene and parked their patrol car in the breakdown lane, at a point about 10 feet beyond Yamamoto’s car. Gibson exited the patrol car and started to walk toward Yamamoto, who by then was standing at a point between the parked cars. As Gibson approached, he saw an accident in the oncoming traffic that sent a car in the breakdown lane out of control toward Yamamoto’s car at about 45 m.p.h. Going between Yamamoto’s car and the patrol car, Gibson ran about 10 feet to Yamamoto. He pushed Yamamoto to the concrete barrier, then over it to a point of safety in the adjoining breakdown lane. The out-of-control car then struck Yamamoto’s car, pushing it into the back of the patrol car. Gibson was struck and knocked onto Yamamoto’s car, but he picked himself up and resumed his duties at the scene. He suffered sore muscles for several days and fully recovered.
Back to Top
Gregory Gobble saved Angela L. and Ashtyn E. Evans from burning, Tovey, Illinois, June 17, 1998. Ms. Evans, 23, and her daughter Ashtyn, 3 weeks old, were trapped inside an automobile after a head-on collision with another vehicle. Flames broke out in the car’s engine area. Another motorist, Gobble, 30, financial consultant, arrived at the scene just after the accident. He ran to the burning car, where he found Ms. Evans in the driver’s seat, trapped by wreckage, and Ashtyn restrained in a car seat on the car’s front passenger seat. Gobble extended his body into the car through its opened driver’s door. He released Ashtyn from her car seat, then withdrew from the car and handed her to his wife, who also had approached the burning car. Gobble then attempted to release Ms. Evans’s safety belt but was not successful. He turned to look for a cutting tool but thought to recline the seat. He reached into the car again and lowered the back of the driver’s seat. With flames up against the windshield and beginning to enter the car’s interior, Gobble grasped Ms. Evans underneath her arms and pulled her under the safety belt and out of the car. He dragged her away from the car, the front of which was shortly covered with flames. Ms. Evans required hospitalization for extensive injury sustained in the accident.
Back to Top
Robert J. Ballentine
Robert J. Ballentine helped to save James C. Armstrong from assault, Claymont, Delaware, October 30, 1997. Armstrong, 35, a police officer, was attempting to detain the 17-year-old male driver of the car that he had pursued into the lot of a convenience store. When the driver produced a .22-caliber revolver from his waistband, Armstrong grasped him, and a struggle ensued. At the nearby fuel pumps, Ballentine, 36, pastor, had been watching the incident unfold. When the scuffle broke out, he immediately ran toward Armstrong and the assailant, and as he approached, the gun fired, its round striking the pavement. Ballentine went to a point behind Armstrong and the assailant, grasped the gun, and removed it from the assailant’s hand. Armstrong took the assailant to the pavement, others arriving to help subdue him. Armstrong required medical treatment for minor injury.
Back to Top