PITTSBURGH, PA, September 30, 2014—In its third award announcement of 2014, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 21 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. Three of the heroes lost their lives in the performance of their lifesaving acts.
The heroes announced today bring to 9,718 the total number of awards made since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission Chair Mark Laskow stated that each of the awardees or their survivors will also receive a financial grant. Throughout the 110 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $36.4 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.
The awardees are:
- Robert Wayne Knoll, Ripon, Wis.
- Justin Lowell Hanley, Miles City, Mont.
- Tony J. Schmidt, Hayesville, N.C.
- Brannon Passmore, Blairsville, Ga.
- Andrew Calvin Zimmer, Emporium, Pa.
- Madison Leigh Wallace, deceased, Vermillion, S.D.
- Lyle Eagle Tail, deceased, Sioux Falls, S.D.
- Donnie Navidad, Stockton, Calif.
- Perry Hookey, Vacaville, Calif.
- Lance O’Pry, Napa, Calif.
- Joseph C. Inman, Battle Ground, Wash.
- Michael Homeier, Ellsworth, Kan.
- Sean Petersen, Topeka, Kan.
- Christopher Heleine, Brazil, Ind.
- Matthew Hare, Kelowna, B.C.
- Colin D. Fath, Schaumburg, Ill.
- Graham W. Fath, Schaumburg, Ill.
- Tyler T. Fredrickson, Schaumburg, Ill.
- Matthew I. Grammas, Schaumburg, Ill.
- Gerald A. Madrid, Albuquerque, N.M.
- Malo Enrique Paul, deceased, Niceville, Fla.
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
ROBERT WAYNE KNOLL
Robert Wayne Knoll saved Jeffrey S. Decker from being struck by a train, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 20, 2013. Decker, 34, was thrown from his motorcycle and landed on a railroad track as a train was approaching at about 25 m.p.h. Unconscious, he lay partially between the rails of the track. Knoll, 24, cook, was in his car stopped nearby and witnessed the accident. Seeing the train approaching, he immediately left his vehicle and ran about 70 feet to Decker, crossing the track to reach him. As the train bore down on them, although in emergency braking, Knoll grasped Decker by the shoulder and his belt and pulled him from the track when the front of the train was about 20 feet away. They had cleared the track by a few feet as the front of the train passed and then stopped about 300 feet beyond them. Decker was hospitalized for treatment of his injuries, and he recovered.
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JUSTIN LOWELL HANLEY
Miles City, Montana
Justin Lowell Hanley saved Chava L. and Shoshana L. Berry from drowning, Miles City, Montana, August 4, 2013. Sisters Chava, 14, and Shoshana, 10, were wading in the Yellowstone River along the bank when the current pulled them into the deeper water of the river’s channel and carried them downstream. Hanley, 43, wild land firefighter, who lived nearby, was alerted. He responded to the scene and saw the girls in the water several hundred feet away. He ran along the bank to a point just beyond them and then partially disrobed and entered the water, despite knowing little about river conditions. As Hanley swam out, the strong channel current pulled on him, but he succeeded in reaching the girls at a point about 250 feet from the bank. As Chava was inert, he held her against his side with one arm and then grasped Shoshana with that hand. Using his free arm, he stroked back toward the bank, the current continuing to take them downstream. En route, Hanley submerged repeatedly to touch the river’s bottom but found that he remained beyond his depth until almost at the bank. Hanley reached the bank with the girls at a point about 700 feet downstream from where he entered the river. Firefighters had responded by then and tended to Chava, who had lost consciousness. Both girls were taken to the hospital, where Chava was detained for having aspirated water. They recovered. Hanley recovered from fatigue and abrasions.
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TONY J. SCHMIDT
Hayesville, North Carolina
Tony J. Schmidt and Brannon Passmore saved Nicholas A. Yebba from drowning, Blairsville, Georgia, May 29, 2013. Yebba, 29, was unconscious in the front seat of his automobile after it left the highway, entered the Nottely River, and submerged in water about 12 feet deep at a point about 35 feet from the closer bank. Driving on the highway, Schmidt, 52, business operator, witnessed the accident and responded to the bank, as did another motorist, Passmore, 27, construction foreman. Not seeing anyone emerge from the car, Schmidt and Passmore removed items of attire and then entered the river and swam to it. They submerged and pried open the vehicle’s rear hatch, which sent personal items from the car, startling them. After surfacing for air, Schmidt made repeated dives into the car to locate, free, and remove Yebba. He took Yebba to the surface and then with Passmore returned him to the bank as first responders were arriving. Yebba required hospital treatment for his injuries.
85858-9700 / 85859-9701
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ANDREW CALVIN ZIMMER
Andrew Calvin Zimmer helped to rescue Krista L. Losey from burning, Emporium, Pennsylvania, December 27, 2012. Losey, 28, who was disabled, lay in a bed in the living room of her apartment after fire broke out in the rear of the unit, which was on the first floor of a 2.5-story house, and filled it with dense smoke. A neighbor, Zimmer, 50, die setter, ran to the scene after seeing smoke and flames issuing from the structure. Learning that Losey was still inside, he and three other men who responded to the scene repeatedly entered the apartment through its front door and, despite intense heat inside the apartment, crawled about the living room in search of Losey before having to retreat for air. On his last attempt, Zimmer crawled a different course, which took him toward the fire. Seeing a part of the bed below the smoke, which otherwise precluded visibility, Zimmer approached the bed and tried to pull Losey from it. He then stood, picked her up, and started toward the door but fell to the floor with her. Grasping Losey again, Zimmer dragged her to the door, from which point the other men took her to safety. Flames grew to engulf the apartment. Losey required hospitalization, and Zimmer suffered smoke inhalation and a minor burn to an ear but did not need medical treatment. He recovered.
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MADISON LEIGH WALLACE, deceased
Vermillion, South Dakota
LYLE EAGLE TAIL, deceased
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Madison Leigh Wallace died attempting to save Garrett M. Wallace from drowning, and Lyle Eagle Tail died attempting to save Madison and Garrett, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, March 14, 2013. While at a municipal park with his siblings, Garrett, 6, fell into the Big Sioux River from its abrupt rock bank and disappeared into a thick layering of foam created by the cascading water. His sister, Madison, 16, high school student, who was nearby, went into the river feet first in an attempt to locate him, but she too was lost from sight as she entered the foam. From another party in the park, Eagle Tail, 28, restaurant employee, responded to the scene and let others hold to him as he lay on the bank and attempted to reach Garrett and Madison. He fell from their grasp into the river. Garrett surfaced, made his way to the bank, and was pulled to safety, but Madison and Eagle Tail drowned.
85602-9703 / 86503-9704
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Donnie Navidad attempted to save a woman from effects of falling, Oakland, California, November 24, 2013. A 20-year-old woman sat on an outside ledge atop the highest deck of a stadium, drawing attention from those on the concrete concourse 67 feet below. One of them, Navidad, 61, government employee, moved to a point directly beneath the woman as she started to fall. He bent at the knees and stretched out his arms to catch her. Navidad grasped the 100-pound woman as she struck him and was knocked to the pavement, the woman landing nearby. The woman required hospitalization for treatment of severe injuries, and Navidad was treated at the emergency room for contusions to an arm and shoulder. He fully recovered.
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Perry Hookey and Lance O’Pry saved William D. Ballard from burning, Vallejo, California, January 10, 2013. After a highway accident, Ballard, 43, was trapped in the burning wreckage of the cab of the tractor-trailer he had been driving. Off duty nearby, Hookey, 47, paramedic, heard the accident and immediately responded to the scene, as did O’Pry, 42, field mechanic, who had witnessed the accident. Seeing Ballard suspended by his safety belt in the cab, flames overhead, they removed pieces of the wreckage to provide access to him. Despite intense heat in the cab, the men worked to free and remove Ballard. The tractor was shortly engulfed by flames. Ballard was taken to the hospital, where he died of his injuries. Hookey sustained first- and second-degree burns to an arm, for which he received hospital treatment.
86083-9706 / 86249-9707
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JOSEPH C. INMAN
Joseph C. Inman saved a boy from burning, Battle Ground, Washington, July 21, 2013. After a highway accident at night, a 16-year-old boy remained in the driver’s seat of the two-door car he had been driving, unconscious, as flames issued along the exterior of the vehicle’s driver’s side. Traveling on the same road, Inman, 24, college student, came upon the scene just after the accident. Believing the burning car to be occupied, he immediately ran to its passenger side and attempted to open the door but was unsuccessful. With seven-foot-high flames spreading along the driver’s side, Inman kicked the window of the passenger door twice, displacing it. He then reached into the car and unlocked and opened the door. Entering to kneel on the passenger seat, Inman grasped the boy’s right upper arm. Backing, he pulled the boy from the car and onto the pavement, where a woman joined him in carrying the boy to safety. Flames grew quickly to engulf the vehicle. The boy required hospital treatment for his injuries, but he was not burned.
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Michael Homeier and Sean Petersen rescued Jonah C. Turner from burning, Ellsworth, Kansas, May 28, 2013. Badly injured, Jonah, 9, lay in the back of a sport utility vehicle after an interstate highway accident in which the vehicle struck the rear of a tractor-trailer parked on the shoulder. Working on his farm nearby, Homeier, 37, farmer, heard the accident and went to the scene, as did Petersen, 45, retail manager, who had been driving on an access road nearby. By then the vehicle had caught fire at its front end, which was under the rear of the trailer, and flames were entering the passenger compartment and rapidly progressing. Homeier fought the flames with a fire extinguisher, and, after Petersen found Jonah in the back of the vehicle, Homeier broke out its rear and rear passenger-side windows with the extinguisher. Homeier entered the vehicle through the rear window as Petersen entered partially through the side windows. Together they lifted Jonah to the level of the windows for removal by Petersen. Homeier then withdrew from the vehicle, flames growing quickly to engulf it. Jonah required hospitalization for treatment of his injuries. Four members of his family died in the accident.
85764-9709 / 85795-9710
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Christopher Heleine saved Mark D. McKinley from burning, Terre Haute, Indiana, November 14, 2012. McKinley, 30, was the driver of a car that struck other vehicles in a parking lot of a university. The car caught fire at its front end as its engine continued to run, and McKinley lay unconscious in the smoke-filled vehicle, slumped over the console. Heleine, 28, university police officer, responded to the scene. When he opened the rear door on the passenger side of the car, its driver’s side blocked by another vehicle, smoke poured out, and he saw McKinley inside, unresponsive. Heleine used a fire extinguisher against flames that had advanced to the front passenger door and then opened it, releasing more smoke. He then entered the car through the front door, released McKinley’s safety belt, and, backing, exited the car as he started to pull McKinley out. Another officer who had arrived assisted in fully removing McKinley. They dragged him to safety, flames quickly spreading to the interior of the car and to the other vehicles nearby. McKinley was hospitalized for treatment of his injuries, and Heleine inhaled smoke but fully recovered the next day.
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Kelowna, British Columbia
Matthew Hare saved a woman from drowning, Kelowna, British Columbia, November 27, 2013. At night, a 21-year-old woman struggled to stay afloat in Okanagan Lake, in water about 115 feet deep at a point about 275 feet from the closer bank. His attention having been attracted to the woman moments earlier, Hare, 36, a police officer, drove to a point from which he could access the bank and then ran about 600 feet to the lake. He removed his outer attire, entered the water, the temperature of which was 48 degrees, and swam to the woman. Other officers at the scene had thrown seat cushions into the lake, and, grasping one of them to use as a flotation device, Hare pulled the woman’s shoulders onto the cushion. He pushed her in front of him with both hands while he propelled himself with his legs back to the bank, the woman losing consciousness as they proceeded. Not able to exit the lake where he entered because of the bank’s abrupt slope, Hare, still pushing the woman, swam along the bank until he reached an accessible point. Others helped him and the woman from the water. Both Hare and the woman were taken to the hospital, where Hare was treated for mild hypothermia. He recovered.
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COLIN D. FATH
GRAHAM W. FATH
TYLER T. FREDRICKSON
MATTHEW I. GRAMMAS
Colin D. Fath, Graham W. Fath, Matthew I. Grammas, and Tyler T. Fredrickson helped to save James P. and Ryan J. Elenz from drowning, Oglesby, Illinois, June 28, 2013. Elenz, 45, and his son Ryan, 10, were rafting on the Vermilion River when their raft became caught in the rolling boil of water at the base of a low-head dam. Kept at the face of the dam by the strong current, they could not free themselves as water flowing over the dam entered the raft. In another party, Colin, 14; his brother, Graham, 11; Matthew, 14; and Tyler, 14, all students, were approaching the scene in a raft and saw that Elenz and his son were stranded. From a point below the dam, the four boys took their raft to Elenz’s. Elenz handed Ryan over to the boys, but then the boys’ raft became caught by the current and held against the face of the dam and Elenz’s raft was released. Elenz went downstream to alert help as Colin, Graham, Matthew, and Tyler used their paddles and hands in an attempt to get out of the boil. Water over the dam entered the raft, and two of the paddles were lost to the river. Two kayakers came upon the scene several minutes later and from the bank threw one end of a line to the boys. The kayakers then pulled the raft from the boil and to safety. Ryan was treated at the scene for mild hypothermia. Colin sustained a laceration to his ear but with the other boys resumed rafting down the river.
86031-9713 / 86032-9714 / 86033-9715 / 86034-9716
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GERALD A. MADRID
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Gerald A. Madrid rescued Adam D. Alvarez from assault, Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 28, 2013. A disturbed man armed with a knife approached Alvarez, 48, as he was directing the choir during a worship service in a large church sanctuary. Shouting that he wanted to kill Alvarez, the man stabbed him repeatedly. Madrid, 53, bail bond agent, was playing flute in the choir and witnessed the attack. Although he was closer to a door leading from the church than he was to the assailant, Madrid ran across that section of the sanctuary and charged the man, pinning him against a wall. Alvarez fled to safety. Madrid attempted to take the assailant to the floor, but the assailant reached over him and stabbed him repeatedly in the back. Madrid collapsed. Several men from the congregation who were reacting subdued the assailant and secured him until police arrived shortly and arrested him. Alvarez and Madrid were hospitalized for treatment of their stab wounds, Madrid being detained for four days. He recovered.
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MALO ENRIQUE PAUL, deceased
Malo Enrique Paul died after attempting to save J’melia N. Richardson from drowning, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, June 8, 2013. While swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, J’melia, 15, was caught by a strong rip current that took her farther from shore. Struggling in the water, she called for help. A member of her party, Malo, 16, high school student, was in wadable water closer to shore in that vicinity. He waded and then swam toward J’melia, but the current continued to pull her farther out, and she submerged. Falling just short of reaching her, Malo began to struggle in the water. A man from their party swam to J’melia and returned her toward shore, and then he and others retrieved Malo, who had been overcome by conditions. Unconscious, Malo and J’melia required hospitalization, and Malo died eight days later. J’melia recovered.
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