PITTSBURGH, PA, SEPTEMBER 23, 2004—In its fourth award announcement of 2004, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 26 individuals from throughout the United States and Canada as recipients of the CARNEGIE MEDAL. The bronze medal is given to those 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 85 the number of persons who have been recognized by the Commission in 2004 to date and to 8,849 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 100 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $27.4 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.
The awardees are:
- Jarrit Scotti, Brooklyn, N.Y.
- Javier Cortés, Astoria, N.Y.
- Eric C. Bonnell, Italy Cross, N.S.
- Sheila Brown, Alliston, Ont.
- Richard M. Marcinko, Baltimore, Md.
- Brian J. Firkal, deceased, Nesquehoning. Pa.
- Robert J. Sullivan, East Hampton, N.Y.
- Alphey J. Kimmey, deceased, Jasper, Texas
- James Edward Smith, Jr., deceased, Newton, Texas
- Ronald C. Morris, Waynesboro, Miss.
- Timothy Kent Sullivan, Millry, Ala.
- Leslie Jean Juarez, deceased, Twentynine Palms, Calif.
- Hannah Lynn Goorsky, San Francisco, Calif.
- Troy Gower, Jim Thorpe, Pa.
- David A. Cushey, Canonsburg, Pa.
- Brian V. Frederick, San Jose, Calif.
- Frank Jefferson Clark, Hamburg, Calif.
- Yuen Kong Won, Paradise, Calif.
- John Relick, Latrobe, Pa.
- John Aaron Relick, Latrobe, Pa.
- Joshua Shuki Josef, Dallas, Texas
- Joseph Dane Wood, deceased, Carrollton, Texas
- Demont Matthews, deceased, Plano, Texas
- Robert Haye, West Carrollton, Ohio
- Richard D. Lockwood, West Carrollton, Ohio
- Todd David Gittins, Winnipeg, Man.
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
Brooklyn, New York
Astoria, New York
Jarrit Scotti attempted to save, and Javier Cortés helped to save, Jonathan Flores from drowning, Astoria, New York, April 14, 2003. Jonathan, 5, fell into the East River from the bank and was swept by the very strong current toward a power plant on the bank in that vicinity. At the plant, Scotti, 28, off-duty sanitation police officer, was alerted to the situation. He responded to the bank and, despite the 42-degree water temperature, entered the river and began to swim after Jonathan. Also nearby, Cortés, 33, learned of the situation and responded to a pier on the premises of the plant, where a ladder provided access to the river. Cortés descended the ladder to the water and swam to Jonathan, who was floating face down about 20 feet out. Cortés secured Jonathan and attempted to return to the pier. Men on the pier threw a life ring to them, then, as they were swept farther along, one end of an electrical cord. Cortés held to the cord until responding police personnel removed him and Jonathan from the river. Scotti also reached the pier, and he too was recovered by rescue units. He, Cortés, and Jonathan all required hospital treatment, Scotti for nearly drowning and Cortés for sustaining mild hypothermia and scrapes and bruises. They recovered.
76809-8824 / 76808-8825
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Eric C. Bonnell
Italy Cross, Nova Scotia
Eric C. Bonnell saved Marguerite Naugler from burning, Italy Cross, Nova Scotia, May 6, 2003. Ms. Naugler, 83, was in the first-floor bedroom of her two-story, wood-frame house after fire broke out in the chimney and spread to the kitchen, living room, and second floor. Her neighbor, Bonnell, 58, retired quality specialist, saw smoke issuing from the house and immediately responded. He entered the enclosed back porch, calling Ms. Naugler by name, then opened the door to the kitchen. Despite flames in that room and the adjoining living room, and hearing their roar in the second story, Bonnell crouched beneath the dense smoke and made his way through the kitchen to the bedroom, which opened off the kitchen. Finding Ms. Naugler standing in the bedroom doorway, Bonnell put his arms around her and took her to the kitchen door. As they exited the house, part of the kitchen ceiling collapsed. Flames destroyed the structure. Ms. Naugler suffered minor smoke inhalation from which she recovered. Bonnell sustained minor burns to his hands, and he too recovered.
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Sheila Brown saved Heather M. Coward from burning, Alliston, Ontario, July 8, 2003. Ms. Coward, 18, was the driver of an automobile that, in a highway accident, left the roadway and overturned onto its passenger side in the front yard of a residence. Conscious but dazed, Ms. Coward remained in the car, restrained by her safety belt, as flames erupted in the engine area and smoke issued from the front of the car. Residents of the neighborhood, including Ms. Brown, 46, homemaker, heard the crash and responded to the scene. Ms. Brown reached through the open driver’s window to release the safety belt, then left to obtain a stepladder from her garage. Returning, she positioned the ladder next to the roof, then climbed it, reached into the car to grasp Ms. Coward, and helped Ms. Coward pull herself through the window and out of the car. They descended to the ground and fled just before a sudden spread of flames nearly engulfed the car. Ms. Coward was hospitalized for treatment of injuries received during the crash, and she recovered.
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Richard M. Marcinko
Brian J. Firkal, deceased
Richard M. Marcinko and Brian J. Firkal, who died, saved Trevor M. Rill from drowning, Ocean City, Maryland, September 27, 2003. Trevor, 11, was swimming in the Atlantic Ocean with a boogie board when he was carried away from shore by a strong current. He became separated from the board and shouted for help. Those along the beach alerted to the situation included Marcinko, 34, physician assistant, and Firkal, 27, teacher. They swam to Trevor, Marcinko reaching him first, at a point about 300 feet out. With Trevor on his back, Marcinko attempted to return to shore, but they were taken farther out by the current. Firkal then joined them, and the three held to each other before becoming separated in the water. Firkal was carried away. Marcinko and Trevor swam from the current and then to shore. They were tired after the rescue, but they recovered. Firkal was removed from the water shortly by a rescue boat. He died of drowning.
77314-8828 / 77194-8829
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Robert J. Sullivan
East Hampton, New York
Robert J. Sullivan rescued William H. Sword, Jr., from assault, Princeton, New Jersey, January 23, 2003. Late at night, Sword, 51, was being stabbed in the kitchen of his two-story house by a disturbed man who had gained entry to the premises. His brother-in-law, Sullivan, 50, business operator, an overnight guest, was alerted and immediately responded from a second-floor bedroom. Sullivan grasped the assailant from behind, lifted him from Sword, and took him to the floor. Obtaining a wok from the kitchen, Sword struck the assailant to subdue him. Moments later, the assailant regained his footing and farther penetrated the house. Again Sullivan and Sword approached and restrained him, Sullivan ordering him from the house. Police officers responding by then dispatched the man after he approached them in the yard and threatened them with the knife. Sword was hospitalized five days for treatment of multiple knife wounds, including a collapsed lung. Sullivan sustained a laceration to his right hand, from which he recovered.
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Alphey J. Kimmey, deceased
James Edward Smith, Jr., deceased
Alphey J. Kimmey and James Edward Smith, Jr., died helping to save Nicole Conley and Jordan S. and Regan N. Hastings from drowning, Bon Wier, Texas, July 5, 2003. Nicole, 15, and sisters Jordan, 13, and Regan, 6, were on a swimming outing on the bank of the Sabine River. They were on inflatable rafts near the river’s midpoint when they experienced difficulty returning to the bank, and they called for help. Jordan’s and Regan’s mother responded, as did people from two other parties on the bank, including Kimmey, 42, tree trimmer, and James, 15, high school student. They entered the water for the girls, Kimmey seen aiding them at a raft before submerging and James seen aiding Nicole toward the bank before he submerged. Kimmey and James drowned, and their bodies were recovered from the river two days later. The girls and those others who had entered the water for them safely reached the bank.
77017-8831 / 77018-8832
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Ronald C. Morris
Timothy Kent Sullivan
Ronald C. Morris and Timothy Kent Sullivan saved Dennis R. Carney from burning, Waynesboro, Mississippi, September 8, 2003. Carney, 28, was the driver of a tractor-trailer that, in a roadway accident, overturned into a ditch along the road shoulder and caught fire in its engine area. Unconscious, he was pinned upside down in the wreckage, a leg caught in the steering wheel. Driving behind Carney, Morris, 36, business operator, witnessed the accident and stopped at the scene, as did Sullivan, 42, farmer, who had been driving behind Morris. Both men approached the exposed driver’s side of the tractor, the cab of which was filling with smoke, and attempted to open the door. Unsuccessful, they returned to their vehicles for metal bars for use in prying open the door, but that effort failed also. Morris used his bar to break out the door’s window. Reaching into the cab, he and Sullivan unfastened Carney’s safety belt, then grasped him about the upper body and repeatedly tugged to release him. Exhorting Carney to free his leg, Morris and Sullivan then pulled him through the window as flame conditions worsened, debris from the burning tractor dropping about them. Morris and Sullivan carried Carney to safety on the road shoulder shortly before flames overtook the tractor, destroying it. Taken to the hospital, Carney suffered cuts and bruises, from which he recovered.
77172-8833 / 77173-8834
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Leslie Jean Juarez, deceased
Twentynine Palms, California
Leslie Jean Juarez died helping attempt to save Laura L. Ridgeway from drowning, Twentynine Palms, California, August 26, 2003. Ms. Ridgeway, 38, attempted to drive an automobile across a partially filled flood channel during a thunderstorm, but it stalled shortly after entering the water. Her sister, Ms. Juarez, 36, a passenger, exited the car by climbing through a window, and Ms. Juarez’s daughter likewise left through the same window. After shouting for help, Ms. Juarez attempted to open the driver’s door but was unsuccessful because of the force of the current. She joined others who had gathered at the scene in their attempts to push and pull the car out of the channel when the car became buoyant, overturned, and was swept away. Ms. Juarez and one of the men helping in the rescue were submerged and also carried downstream. The bodies of all three victims were recovered later that day.
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Hannah Lynn Goorsky
San Francisco, California
Hannah Lynn Goorsky rescued Chad Summers from an attacking tiger, Sacramento, California, March 23, 2003. While attempting to close the door to a den of a tiger cage at the zoo where he was employed, Summers, 30, was attacked by a 320-pound tiger that had rushed the door. Wounded, he went to the floor, where the tiger began to maul him. Starting her third day as a volunteer at the zoo, Ms. Goorsky, 23, was standing nearby and witnessed the attack. She grabbed a shovel, approached the tiger, and struck it on the head repeatedly with the shovel. The tiger retreated into its den, Ms. Goorsky securing the door. Summers was hospitalized for treatment of numerous bite wounds.
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Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania
David A. Cushey
Troy Gower and David A. Cushey rescued John D. Semple from burning, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, January 6, 2004. Semple, 49, was trapped in the debris of his house after an explosion of natural gas that had leaked into the structure. Much of the 1.5-story house, including the roof, collapsed into the basement, where Semple lay badly injured and burned, and fire broke out in the debris and spread. In his home nearby, Gower, 30, cook, heard the explosion and responded to the scene, as did another neighbor, Cushey, 31, federal air marshal, who was driving in the vicinity. Hearing Semple yell for help, Gower forced open an outside door to the basement, entered, and, followed by Cushey, climbed through debris to reach him. Gower and Cushey lifted furniture off Semple, freeing him, then carried him through the debris to the door. Able to walk, Semple exited the basement and fled with Gower and Cushey. By then, flames had spread to at least the far half of the pile of debris. Semple was hospitalized for treatment of multiple bone fractures and burns to his head and hands. Gower was given oxygen at the scene and treated for a cut, and Cushey sustained minor smoke inhalation. They recovered.
77440-8837 / 77405-8838
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Brian V. Frederick
San Jose, California
Brian V. Frederick saved Josue Rodriguez and helped to save Martin N. Gonzalez from drowning, El Granada, California, September 20, 2003. Josue, 7, and Gonzalez, 44, were adrift in Half Moon Bay of the Pacific Ocean after their boat took on water and sank while they were on a fishing outing. After three hours, they were spotted by Frederick, 27, graphic artist, and others from a bluff overlooking the bay. Frederick descended a trail to the beach, removed his outer attire, and, despite the 58-degree water, entered the surf and swam to Josue, who was 90 feet from shore in large breakers. Grasping Josue by his life jacket, Frederick towed him to shore, then removed the life jacket and donned it himself. He reentered the water and swam about 450 feet to Gonzalez, who, in high swells beyond the breakers, submerged shortly before Frederick reached him. Frederick submerged, grasped Gonzalez, and pulled him to the surface. A man in a kayak responded, but his attempt to tow Frederick and Gonzalez to shore was unsuccessful against a strong current. Frederick kept Gonzalez afloat until rescue personnel aboard a personal watercraft responded and removed him to a boat farther out. Aided by a line from the kayak, Frederick then swam to shore, where he collapsed on the beach. Both suffering hypothermia, Josue and Gonzalez required hospital treatment. Frederick was treated by paramedics for mild hypothermia, and his limbs were cut and bruised. He recovered.
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Frank Jefferson Clark
Frank Jefferson Clark saved a woman from burning, Hamburg, California, July 22, 2003. At night, a 26year-old woman was trapped in her sport utility vehicle after it left the roadway, landed on its passenger side on an embankment, and caught fire. She shouted for help. Flames quickly spread along the underside of the vehicle, to its rear interior, and to nearby trees. After hearing the accident from his home at the scene, Clark, 53, retired electronics technician, immediately responded, going to a point on the embankment at the vehicle’s roof. As his neighbor used a fire extinguisher against flames on the vehicle, Clark extended his upper body through its driver’s window. He grasped the woman, whose leg was broken, and, holding her close to his body, pulled her from the cab. He then carried her from the embankment to safety shortly before the vehicle was engulfed by flames. The woman required hospitalization for her injuries.
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Yuen Kong Won
Yuen Kong Won rescued Danielle R. Lang from burning, Paradise, California, July 18, 2003. Ms. Lang, 43, lay unconscious on the floor of her motel room after fire broke out in that room, spread, and filled the room with dense smoke. In his home nearby, Won, 67, who owned and managed the motel, was alerted to the fire by another guest. Responding to Ms. Lang’s room, he unlocked the door and entered. In dense smoke that obscured his vision, he approached the bed and removed burning bedding in search of Ms. Lang. Nearly overcome by conditions, he left the room. He returned, but on his hands and knees, and, catching sight of Ms. Lang beside the bed, crawled to her. He grasped her by the feet and dragged her to the door and outside as flames issued through the doorway. Another man helped Won take Ms. Lang to a point of safety in the parking lot. Ms. Lang’s room, and the adjoining one, were severely damaged by fire. Ms. Lang required extensive hospitalization for treatment of serious burns. Won suffered back strain and minor smoke inhalation for which he received hospital treatment. He recovered.
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John Aaron Relick
John Relick and John Aaron Relick saved Ruth A. Ansel from burning, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, August 30, 2003. Ms. Ansel, 48, was the driver of a pickup truck that, in an accident at night, left the roadway and struck a large tree. Unconscious, she lay face down inside the vehicle. John Relick, 59, truck driver, and his son, John Aaron Relick, 34, glassworker, both of whom lived at the scene, responded to the truck. They attempted to open its doors but found them jammed shut. When fire then erupted in the truck’s engine area, John Aaron used two extinguishers against the flames but to little effect. Fire spread suddenly to the passenger side of the pickup. John, meanwhile, succeeded in opening the driver’s door after much struggle. He reached inside the pickup and pulled Ms. Ansel onto the driver’s seat. One of her feet remained caught between the pedals, and John worked to free it. He and his son then dragged Ms. Ansel from the vehicle and to safety moments before another burst of flames at the truck, which was destroyed by the accident and fire. Ms. Ansel required hospitalization for treatment of injuries received during the crash.
77109-8842 / 77110-8843
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Joshua Shuki Josef
Joseph Dane Wood, deceased
Demont Matthews, deceased
Joshua Shuki Josef, Joseph Dane Wood, and Demont Matthews attempted to save Frederick L. Person from burning, Dallas, Texas, January 14, 2003. Person, 27, was unconscious and trapped inside his burning car after an interstate highway accident at night. Another motorist, Josef, 38, hairdresser, stopped at the scene and responded to the driver’s side of the car, which had come to rest in the inside lane and from which flames issued in the engine area. Two other men who had responded, Wood, 21, business manager, and Matthews, 23, were there and informed him that they had attempted a rescue but could not remove Person’s safety belt. Josef entered the car through the opened driver’s door and likewise was unable to remove the belt. He returned to his car for pliers then re-entered the burning car but again was not successful. Josef exited the vehicle to call for scissors then resumed working on Person’s safety belt, Wood and Matthews standing behind him. A car traveling at an extremely high rate of speed approached the scene and passed the burning car on its driver’s side, striking the three rescuers. Severely injured in his left leg, Josef made it to the safety of the shoulder, but Wood and Matthews were thrown 150 feet. They died of their injuries. Josef required two weeks’ hospitalization for treatment of his injuries.
76734-8844 / 76669-8845 / 76670-8846
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West Carrollton, Ohio
Richard D. Lockwood
West Carrollton, Ohio
Robert Haye and Richard D. Lockwood saved Kyle A. Nickell from drowning, West Carrollton, Ohio, June 22, 2003. Nickell, 18, was operating a personal watercraft on the Great Miami River when he and the craft went over a low-head dam and became caught in the rolling boil of water at the base of the dam. Haye, 36, operations manager, and others witnessed the accident and responded to a point on the bank below the dam. Haye entered the water and against the strong current waded toward the dam, stopping at a point opposite Nickell, who was in the approximate center of the river. Wearing a life jacket and carrying a 60-foot length of his boat’s anchor line, Lockwood, 32, estimator, who also had witnessed the accident, waded into the river and joined Haye. Lockwood clipped one end of the line to his jacket and, with Haye holding the rest of the line, waded and swam through the turbulent water toward Nickell, who, by then submerged and unconscious, was about 40 feet away. Bracing himself on a rock, Lockwood looked for Nickell and, finding him, pulled him to the surface. Haye then pulled on the line to get Lockwood and Nickell from the boil and to wadable water. He and Lockwood, holding Nickell, returned to the bank, where they were helped from the river. Nickell sustained a cut and scratches and had swallowed water. He was hospitalized overnight, and he recovered. Haye and Lockwood were exhausted, and they too recovered.
77294-8847 / 77295-8848
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Todd David Gittins
Todd David Gittins helped to save a man from drowning, Winnipeg, Manitoba, May 19, 2003. Gittins, 35, diesel mechanic, was driving across a bridge that spanned the Red River when he saw a man, 29, standing at the bridge railing. Continuing, he then learned that the man had jumped, in an apparent suicide attempt. Gittins left his vehicle and ran down to the river’s edge. The man surfaced at about midpoint in the river but was being carried downstream by the current, made swift by runoff. Gittins followed him on the bank, then, blocked by brush, entered the frigid water and continued along the bank. Reaching a dock, he obtained a life ring, which he donned, and other aids. He swam out to the man, who was face down about 200 feet from the bank, and grasped him by his jacket. With his free hand, Gittins began to swim back to the bank. Firefighters were arriving, and two men launched a boat from the bank and maneuvered it toward Gittins. They took the victim aboard and returned to the bank, Gittins following. The victim was taken to the hospital, where he died of drowning. Nearly exhausted, Gittins too was taken to the hospital, where he was treated for hypothermia. He recovered.
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