PITTSBURGH, PA, September 23, 2010 — In its third award announcement of 2010, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 19 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.
The heroes announced today bring to 64 the number of awards made in 2010 to date and to 9,391 the total number of awards since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission President Mark Laskow stated that each of the awardees or their next of kin will also receive a financial grant. Throughout the 106 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $32.7 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.
Three of the awardees died in the performance of their heroic acts, each while helping to save a child from drowning. Carnegie wrote in the Hero Fund’s Deed of Trust that those who are injured or lose their lives in such acts are the “heroes of civilization.” The latest awardees are:
- Jeffrey R. Heimbach, Denville, N.J.
- Garrett T. Townsend, Jr., deceased, Detroit, Mich.
- Catharina Rowley, Paso Robles, Calif.
- Alexander J. Whitney, Grand Haven, Mich.
- Stanley C. Romberg, Ocala, Fla.
- Corey Saladin, Reed City, Mich.
- Scott Hecht, Hauppage, N.Y.
- Douglas L. Hipple, Warren, Ohio
- Eric L. Fullerton, Salt Lake City, Utah
- John M. Krahn, Muskego, Wis.
- James Callahan, Flower Mound, Texas
- Keith Sampson, Flint, Mich.
- Kristine Kelly Keaton, Flint, Mich.
- Allen Lee Heck, deceased, Longview, Wash.
- Michael Earl Gay, Sr., Bartow, Fla.
- Nathan R. Simpson, Medina, Ohio
- Tina Maryann Moores, deceased, Grand Falls-Windsor, N.L.
- John Rechlitz, Milwaukee, Wis.
- Joel P. Rechlitz, Milwaukee, Wis.
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
Jeffrey R. Heimbach
Denville, New Jersey
Jeffrey R. Heimbach saved Carlos E. Salinas from burning, Roxbury Township, New Jersey, September 23, 2008. Salinas, 18, was the driver of a sport utility vehicle that, at night, entered the opposing lanes of traffic on an interstate highway and collided with two oncoming vehicles. Salinas’s vehicle came to a stop on the highway, with Salinas lying unconscious on the front seats, his legs trapped by wreckage. Other motorists stopped at the scene, including Heimbach, 29, an off-duty state trooper. Heimbach and two other men removed a passenger from the back seat of Salinas’s vehicle, and when Heimbach returned to look for others, he found Salinas. Flames by then had erupted in the engine compartment. After Heimbach reached through the window of the front passenger-side door and attempted unsuccessfully to move Salinas, he crawled through the rear door on that side, completely entering the vehicle. He pulled Salinas partially into the back seat, and then he forced away the driver’s seat to free Salinas’s legs as flames entered the vehicle through its firewall. Grasping Salinas by the shoulders, Heimbach pulled him the rest of the way into the back seat and then out of the vehicle. He took him to safety, flames growing to engulf the vehicle. Salinas was hospitalized for his injuries.
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Garrett T. Townsend, Jr., deceased
Garrett T. Townsend, Jr., died helping to save a boy from drowning, Detroit, Michigan, May 24, 2009. A seven-year-old boy entered a residential neighborhood construction site that contained an excavated pit about 15 feet deep at its center. Murky water partially filled the pit to a depth of about 10 feet. In some fashion the boy entered the water and could not get back out. At his home nearby, Townsend, 58, financial planner, was alerted to the situation. He responded to the scene and, despite having limited swimming ability, entered the pit and made his way to the boy. He held the boy up but then submerged. Another man entered the pit, swam to the boy, and took him to the side of the pit, from where he and the boy were both removed to safety. A police officer who had arrived entered the pit on learning that Townsend had submerged. After the officer located him, Townsend was removed from the pit and taken to the hospital. He could not be revived, as he had drowned.
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Paso Robles, California
Catharina Rowley saved a girl from drowning, Cambria, California, June 28, 2008. A 12-year-old girl was jumping large waves at a Pacific Ocean beach when she was knocked off her feet and carried out from shore. A man entered the water and reached her but was unable to return to shore with her. They shouted for help. In another party at the beach, Rowley, 33, notary, became aware of the situation. She entered the 55-degree water and swam to the victims, who were then nearly submerged at a point about 150 feet from shore. When Rowley grasped the man by his arms, he and the girl latched on to her and struggled against her, submerging her repeatedly. Rowley freed herself and then established a hold on the girl and began to swim back to shore, towing her, the man behind them. After a laborious swim, Rowley reached wadable water, where she helped the girl to her feet. They left the water, as did the man. Both the girl and the man were taken to the hospital for observation, but they were not injured. Tired, Rowley sustained scratches and swallowed water during the rescue, and she recovered.
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Alexander J. Whitney
Grand Haven, Michigan
Alexander J. Whitney saved a boy from drowning, Grand Haven, Michigan, August 3, 2009. A 16-year-old boy was in wadable water near shore at a Lake Michigan beach when he was pulled farther out by a very strong current. He clung to a buoy about 120 feet from shore, buffeted by high waves. Alexander, 17, high school student, was in another party on the beach in that vicinity. He took a life ring from the beach and waded and swam toward the boy as others on the beach held a line that was attached to the ring. As the line was not long enough, they had to release it as Alexander continued out. Alexander reached the boy, gave him the ring, and then attempted to swim with him against the current toward shore. Instead, they were carried about 100 feet farther out. Towing the boy, Alexander swam parallel with the beach to get out of the current. He then towed him toward shore and reached wadable water, where others aided the boy from the lake. Alexander was tired and had taken in water, and he and the boy were checked by paramedics at the scene. They recovered.
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Stanley C. Romberg
Stanley C. Romberg rescued Upasana Pathak from assault, Ocala, Florida, March 19, 2009. Pathak, 21, was working behind the counter of a convenience store at night when a masked man armed with a gun entered the store, jumped the counter, and approached her. A friend of hers, Romberg, 68, retired livestock employee, was on the other side of that end of the store. He immediately ran into the counter space and lunged at the assailant, pushing him away from Pathak. Romberg struggled against the assailant as a second masked gunman entered the store and approached them. As the first assailant left Romberg and started toward the door, Romberg following, he turned and fired the gun at Romberg, striking him in the left arm. Both assailants fled the scene. Romberg was taken to the hospital for treatment of his gunshot wound, and he recovered in two months.
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Reed City, Michigan
Corey Saladin saved Maxime L. Miville and Jennifer J. Crown from drowning, Sanibel, Florida, August 20, 2009. Maxime, 9, and Jennifer, 8, were carried out into the Gulf of Mexico by the strong tidal current through Blind Pass. On vacation at the beach, Corey, 14, student, and others became aware of the girls’ situation. Corey found a short surfboard nearby, entered the water, and swam out to the girls with it. He reached them at a point about 800 feet from shore and placed Jennifer on the board. Maxime and Corey held to the board as they and Jennifer kicked their way back toward shore, Corey tiring in his efforts to keep his head above water. When they were close to shore, others helped them from the water, Corey collapsing from fatigue. Neither of the girls was injured, and Corey recovered by that evening.
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Hauppauge, New York
Scott Hecht saved a girl from drowning, Mastic Beach, New York, July 30, 2009. A teenage girl struggled to stay afloat in the Atlantic Ocean after being swept away from the beach by a strong current. Beachgoers shouted for help, attracting the attention of Hecht, 45, social worker, who was in a camping area nearby. Although he decided earlier not to swim that day because of rough surf conditions, Hecht entered the water with a short surfboard and, holding onto the board, swam out to the girl, reaching her at a point about 200 feet from shore. He grasped her by the wrists and held them over the board and then started toward shore. Waves overtook them as they proceeded, and a lateral current swept them along the shoreline. Others aided the girl when they reached wadable water, and Hecht also reached the beach safely. Hecht was very tired and sustained scratches to his legs, but he did not need medical treatment. He recovered.
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Douglas L. Hipple
Douglas L. Hipple attempted to save Donna Cassidy, Sheree J. Egry, and Melissa S. Watson from burning, Warren, Ohio, April 28, 2009. Before dawn, Cassidy and Egry, both 52, and Watson, 44, were in bedrooms on the second floor of the two-story group home where they lived after fire erupted on the structure’s front porch. On duty in the vicinity, Hipple, 38, police officer, was alerted to the fire. He responded to the scene and entered the house through its front door, the women’s caregiver informing him that they were upstairs. Hipple climbed the stairs to the second floor, but heavy smoke repelled him and he retreated briefly. Returning to the second floor, where visibility was severely limited, Hipple yelled to the women, gathering them at the top of the stairs. With rapidly deteriorating conditions proving too formidable, Hipple decided to attempt their escape through a bedroom window. He, Cassidy, and Egry were overcome by smoke in one of the bedrooms, and Watson was overcome in an adjoining one. They were removed by firefighters who arrived shortly and were taken to the hospital. Watson later succumbed to effects of smoke inhalation. Cassidy, Egry, and Hipple survived smoke inhalation and burns up to third-degree, Hipple’s burns covering 14 percent of his body. He was disabled for more than a year.
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Eric L. Fullerton
Salt Lake City, Utah
Eric L. Fullerton rescued a man from assault, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 25, 2007. A 46-year-old man was working behind the counter of a fast food restaurant when a prisoner who had just escaped custody during transport entered the restaurant and threatened its patrons and staff with a semiautomatic handgun. The assailant went behind the counter, grabbed the employee, and, threatening to kill him, began to drag him toward the back of the restaurant. The assailant fired a shot and struck the employee on the head repeatedly with the butt of the gun. A customer, Fullerton, 59, truck driver, was standing in front of the counter as the assault unfolded. He jumped over the counter, approached the assailant, and engaged him in a hold, freeing the employee, who then fled, as did others in the restaurant. A struggle for control of the gun ensued between Fullerton and the assailant, who struck Fullerton repeatedly with his fist. Securing a knife from nearby, the assailant then cut Fullerton on the neck as Fullerton pried the assailant’s fingers from the gun. Gun in hand, Fullerton kept the assailant in check as he left the restaurant. Police who had arrived took Fullerton to safety and then apprehended the assailant. Both Fullerton and the employee received hospital treatment for their injuries, Fullerton’s including abrasions, contusions, and a laceration to his neck that required sutures. He recovered.
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John M. Krahn
John M. Krahn saved Monica L. Ensley-Partenfelder and helped attempt to save Mackale J. Partenfelder from being struck by a train, Elm Grove, Wisconsin, May 25, 2009. Ensley-Partenfelder, 40, and her son Mackale, 1, were occupants of a minivan that got caught on a rail at a railroad crossing. A 94-car freight train was approaching the crossing on that track at about 43 m.p.h. On duty at a nearby intersection, Krahn, 41, police officer, ran to the crossing and approached the driver’s side of the minivan. He opened its driver’s door, allowing egress for Ensley-Partenfelder, and pushed her away from the vehicle. Finding that Mackale was in the minivan, Krahn worked to unlock its rear door, being joined by Ensley-Partenfelder’s husband, who had been driving another vehicle nearby. The train bore down on the crossing as the men worked to gain access to Mackale, and it struck the vehicle at undiminished speed. The minivan was knocked from the crossing to a point in an adjacent grassy area, where it came to rest upright. Still inside it, Mackale was uninjured. Krahn and Ensley-Partenfelder’s husband were also thrown to the grassy area. They required hospitalization for treatment of severe injuries, Krahn’s including numerous broken bones. He was disabled for more than a year.
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Flower Mound, Texas
James Callahan saved five children from a runaway van, Watauga, Texas, June 16, 2009. Five children, ranging in age from 2 to 10, were secured to their seats in a minivan that was parked and left running in front of a store. The vehicle began to roll backward toward a busy, six-lane highway. Callahan, 48, car dealer, was in the store and saw the minivan moving backward. He immediately ran from the store and approached the driver’s side of the vehicle. He opened the driver’s door and placed his right leg and foot inside the minivan to apply the brake, but he became caught by the front left tire of the vehicle and was taken to the pavement and dragged as the minivan turned away from the highway. The minivan ran over Callahan’s left leg and arm, narrowly missing his head, before it stopped. The children were not injured. Callahan was hospitalized for treatment, including surgery, of a fracture to his left leg and cuts and abrasions.
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Kristine Kelly Keaton
Keith Sampson and Kristine Kelly Keaton helped to rescue Brooklyn Gibson and others from an attacking dog, Flint, Michigan, October 18, 2009. Brooklyn, 3, was in the backyard of her family’s home when an adult male pit bull entered the yard, clamped its jaws on her head, and began to shake her. Others in the yard included Keith, 13, student. Keith ran to the dog, pulled it away from Brooklyn, and struggled to restrain it in a chokehold while his half brother took Brooklyn inside the house. Meanwhile, Keaton, 37, attorney, who lived next door, responded to the yard on hearing the children screaming. Seeing Keith struggling to restrain the dog, she ran to aid the half brother as he was getting another child to safety. The dog ran from Keith and attacked Keaton as she approached the house, biting her severely on an arm. Others from the neighborhood responded and beat the dog away from her. Both Brooklyn and Keaton were hospitalized for treatment of serious bite wounds, Keaton requiring surgery.
82684-9383 / 82685-9384
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Allen Lee Heck, deceased
Allen Lee Heck died helping to save a girl from drowning, Kelso, Washington, July 17, 2009. A 9-year-old girl was wading in the Cowlitz River off a sandbar near the bank when she stepped into deeper water. She shouted for help. Heck, 20, was in another party nearby. He immediately entered the deeper water and swam to the girl. Grasping her, he held her above the surface of the water but then called for help himself. After a woman attempted to swim out to them but returned because of the swift current, a teenage girl swam to Heck, took the girl from him, and returned her uninjured to safety. Heck submerged and drowned, rescuers recovering him from the river the next day.
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Michael Earl Gay, Sr.
Michael Earl Gay, Sr., rescued Jodi K. Oakes from burning, Alturas, Florida, November 11, 2009. Oakes, 28, was the driver of an automobile that, at night, left the roadway and struck a tree. Flames broke out at the front of the vehicle. Driving nearby, Gay, 43, survey technician, stopped at the scene on seeing the flames and then approached the car. Hearing Oakes scream, he went to the driver’s side of the car but found flames issuing through the window of the driver’s door. He went to the passenger side, bent the frame of the passenger-door window to get it out of the way, and then leaned head first into the car, to his waist, despite flames inside the vehicle, on the driver’s side. He grasped Oakes, who was aflame, and, backing out of the car, pulled her through the window. She dropped to the ground, where Gay patted out the flames on her hair and torso. He then dragged her farther from the car, which became engulfed by flames. Oakes required extensive hospitalization for treatment of her injuries, which included severe burns. Gay also was treated at the hospital, for second-degree burns to his hands. He recovered.
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Nathan R. Simpson
Nathan R. Simpson attempted to rescue Tashawn R. Okoye from burning, Medina, Ohio, October 26, 2009. Tashawn, 7, was in his bedroom on the second floor of a two-story duplex after fire broke out at night in a hall closet adjoining that room. Other family members fled the apartment as flames and smoke spread rapidly, blocking its exits. Responding police officers included Simpson, 34. He climbed a ladder that was placed against the building at Tashawn’s bedroom window and broke out the glass. He started to enter the bedroom through the window but was nearly overwhelmed by dense smoke. After retreating for air, he held a shirt to his face, climbed through the window, and crawled through blistering heat toward Tashawn’s bed. Reaching it, Simpson pulled Tashawn to the floor and dragged him to the window, where he handed him outside to another man on the ladder. Nearly overcome, Simpson climbed out the window and descended to safety, aided by others. Tashawn could not be revived, as he had died of smoke inhalation. Simpson required hospital treatment for burns, up to second degree, to his hands; smoke inhalation; and lacerations, which required suturing. He missed two weeks’ work and fully recovered.
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Tina Maryann Moores deceased
Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland and Labrador
Tina Maryann Moores died helping to save Emily B. Ivany from drowning, Buchans, Newfoundland and Labrador, August 15, 2009. While playing along the bank of Red Indian Lake, Emily, 9, was carried into deeper water by an offshore current, and she struggled to stay afloat. Members of her party, including Moores, 35, nurse, and Moores’s sister, were alerted and responded from nearby. Moores immediately entered the lake and swam about 130 feet out to Emily. She grasped the girl and held her head above water but then became distressed herself and called for help. Her sister swam out to her and relieved her of Emily. Others responding took a boat out to them and returned Emily and Moores’s sister to the bank. Seeing Moores floating farther out, Moores’s husband and three other men responded in two boats and returned her to the bank. Emily required hospitalization for treatment of hypothermia and other ill effects, and she recovered. Moores could not be revived, as she had drowned.
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Joel P. Rechlitz
John Rechlitz and Joel P. Rechlitz rescued David J. Harper from burning, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, July 19, 2009. David, 4, was in a booster seat in the rear seat of a sport utility vehicle that overturned onto its driver’s side in a residential neighborhood and caught fire. Flames fueled by leaking gasoline burned on the street, covered the rear of the vehicle, and entered its interior. John, 44, and his brother, Joel, 29, both firefighters, were at John’s home a few blocks away when they were alerted to the accident. Although they were off duty, they immediately responded to the scene, where others were working feverishly to gain access to the vehicle through its windshield. John helped in partially removing the windshield, after which Joel stepped into the vehicle. He located David but was unable to free him before fire conditions forced him back out. John then entered the vehicle, but he too was unsuccessful in his attempt, flames spreading toward the front of the vehicle’s interior. The brothers alternated entering the vehicle to free David before John, with a knife, re-entered, cut the safety belt restraining David, and took him through the windshield to safety. Badly burned, David required extensive hospitalization. John and Joel also required hospital treatment, John for second-degree burns to his hands and a laceration that required sutures and Joel for second-degree burns to his right arm and abrasions to his legs.
82421-9386 / 82422-9387
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