Latest Carnegie Medal Awardees


PITTSBURGH, PA, April 18, 2013 — In its first award announcement of 2013, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 22 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.

The heroes announced today bring to 9,598 the number of awards made since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission President Mark Laskow stated that each of the awardees or their survivors will also receive a financial grant. Throughout the 109 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, more than $35 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.

The awardees are:

Loren Earl Hazen, deceased Kalkaska, Mich.
Mark Kevin Breen, Jr. Hudsonville, Mich.
Daniel G. R. Livingston Courtenay, B.C.
Jonathan M. Nielsen, Sr. Morrisville, Vt.
Michael F. Schiotis Spring Hill, Tenn.
William L. O’Connor Gold Beach, Ore.
Mark A. Garsteck Mount Pleasant, Pa.
John E. Swartz Mount Pleasant, Pa.
Stacey Lynn Feiling, deceased Mount Pleasant, Pa.
James W. Linthicum Wichita, Kan.
Wilfred L. Spencer III Moundsville, W.Va.
John A. Lais, deceased Burlington, Vt.
Jeffrey W. Caldwell Frenchtown, N.J.
Michael A. Pellegrino Brick, N.J.
Frederick K. Dow Ewing, N.J.
Alan B. Hall, deceased Land O’Lakes, Fla.
Christopher DeFelice Philadelphia, Pa.
Cody Lewis Decker DeWitt, Mich.
Luke Daniel Vaughn DeWitt, Mich.
Brandon M. Wemhoff Lincoln, Neb.
Nicholas Ray Dorken Innerkip, Ont.
Tray Hughes Ross Gainesville, Ga.

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

Loren Earl Hazen deceased
Kalkaska, Michigan
Loren Earl Hazen died helping to save Andrew J. Killingsworth from drowning, Rapid City, Michigan, July 17, 2011. While wading atop the sandbar at Torch Lake, Killingsworth, 18, and three friends, including Hazen, 21, college student, intended to swim across a 10-foot-deep depression at a point about 450 feet from the closer bank. Hazen crossed the depression without difficulty, but Killingsworth began to struggle in the deeper water. He called for help. After attempts to save him by the other two friends, Hazen re-entered the deeper water and swam to Killingsworth. Killingsworth grasped Hazen and pushed off him, enabling him to reach wadable water, but Hazen submerged and did not surface. Responding rescue personnel removed him from the water shortly and attempted without success to revive him. He had drowned. Killingsworth and the others were returned to the bank by boaters. They required hospital treatment and recovered.
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Mark Kevin Breen, Jr.
Hudsonville, Michigan
Mark Kevin Breen, Jr., saved Delilah H. Perez from drowning, Pentwater, Michigan, August 3, 2011. Swimming in Lake Michigan off a state park beach, Delilah, 13, was pulled away from shore by a strong current. She was taken toward large rocks at the base of one of a pair of concrete piers that extended into the water from shore to form a channel that connected the lake to a smaller inland lake. Five-foot waves broke against the rocks and pier. Delilah floated unconscious beyond the end of the pier after several men entered the water and attempted to rescue her. Breen, 29, ironworker, was in the swimming area when he was alerted to the situation. He swam about 300 feet to Delilah, who was face down, and turned her over. He then grasped her and swam across the channel to the second pier, the waves washing over and submerging them repeatedly. Breen took Delilah to a ladder affixed to that pier, where others helped him remove her from the water. Breen worked to revive Delilah, who was then taken to the hospital. She died there the next day. Breen was nearly exhausted after the rescue but recovered in two days. 84295-9578
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Daniel G. R. Livingston
Courtenay, British Columbia
Daniel G. R. Livingston helped to save Jessy B. Vandergriendt from burning, Courtenay, British Columbia, April 2, 2010. Unconscious, Vandergriendt, 22, remained secured by a safety belt to his seat in a sport utility vehicle that crashed and overturned in a highway accident at night. Flames broke out in the engine area and began to spread. Visiting at a friend’s house nearby, Livingston, 22, paving laborer, was alerted to the accident, and he and others responded to the scene. Livingston opened one of the vehicle’s doors, partially entered, and found that Vandergriendt was restrained by the belt. He exited the vehicle and obtained a pair of scissors and a knife that one of the others had taken to the scene. Livingston re-entered and cut the safety belt as flames broke through the firewall and into the interior of the vehicle. He grasped Vandergriendt and dragged him from the vehicle and then was aided in taking him farther away. The vehicle was shortly engulfed by flames. Vandergriendt required extensive hospitalization for treatment of serious injuries, but he was not burned.
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Jonathan M. Nielsen, Sr.
Morrisville, Vermont
Jonathan M. Nielsen, Sr., attempted to rescue Heather J. Manley from burning, Morrisville, Vermont, September 19, 2011. Manley, 48, was in her first-floor apartment after fire broke out in the living room at night. In an apartment nearby, Nielsen, 32, laborer, heard a smoke alarm and discovered the fire. He responded to Manley’s unit and attempted entry, but its front door was locked. Nielsen then ran around the building to the sliding glass door at the rear of the apartment, which opened to the living room, and broke through it. Barefoot, he entered the apartment to search for Manley but was unable to breathe in the deteriorating conditions, which included growing flames, dense smoke, and blistering heat. Nielsen left the apartment and returned to the front door, which he struck with a sledgehammer, forcing it open. Seeing Manley unresponsive on the floor not far from the door, he crawled to her, grasped her, and dragged her outside the building. He attempted to revive her, but she had succumbed. Flames rapidly spread in the apartment. Nielsen required hospital treatment for first- and second-degree burns to his hands and smoke inhalation injury. He recovered.
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Michael F. Schiotis
Spring Hill, Tennessee
Michael F. Schiotis rescued Anna H. Trently from assault, Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, November 1, 2011. Trently, 41, was being pursued by an armed man as she drove on an interstate highway at night. At one point, the man pulled his car beside hers and shot out the window of the front passenger door. As Trently then attempted to make a U-turn on the highway, the man approached her car on foot, opened its driver’s door, and pointed a gun at her. He attempted to shoot her, but when the gun malfunctioned, he struck her in the head with it. Meanwhile, Schiotis, 44, truck driver, was approaching the scene, slowing his tractor-trailer to a stop for what he thought was a traffic accident. Bloodied, Trently ran toward his rig, followed by the assailant. She pounded on its driver’s door and screamed for help. Schiotis jumped from the cab, grasped Trently, and positioned himself between her and the assailant. He kept the assailant at bay as Trently climbed into the cab. Turning his back to the assailant, Schiotis followed her. He drove from the scene and called police, who told him to respond to a truck stop five miles ahead. Schiotis did so, but on finding that the assailant was following in his vehicle, Schiotis continued on the highway, driving such as to block him. Police caught up to them seven miles beyond the truck stop and apprehended the assailant. Trently required hospitalization for treatment of her injuries, and she recovered.
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William L. O’Connor
Gold Beach, Oregon
William L. O’Connor helped to rescue Leslie K. Hislop from burning, Gold Beach, Oregon, September 26, 2011. Hislop, 74, remained in the driver’s seat, secured by his safety belt, after an accident in which his pickup truck left the roadway and overturned onto its passenger side on an embankment just off the road shoulder. Flames erupted in the engine compartment and spread to the front of the exposed undercarriage and the interior of the cab. Motorists, including O’Connor, 64, stopped at the scene. O’Connor descended the embankment and attempted, without success, to open the driver’s door. He then kicked a hole in the windshield but found that he was unable to remove Hislop through it. Obtaining a tool from one of the other motorists, O’Connor broke out the window of the driver’s door, leaned into the cab, and cut Hislop’s shoulder and lap belts. Freed of them, Hislop fell to the bottom of the cab. O’Connor and another man leaned inside the cab, grasped Hislop, and pulled him from the wreckage. Flames spread to destroy the vehicle. Hislop was hospitalized for treatment of burns to his legs, and O’Connor recovered within a few days from exposure to smoke.
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Mark A. Garsteck
Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania
John E. Swartz
Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania
Mark A. Garsteck and John E. Swartz helped to constrain an armed assailant, Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, June 1, 2010. Garsteck, 55, sales representative, was at home when he heard gunfire and screaming. Investigating, he found that a neighbor had shot and wounded his wife and teenaged daughter and was pursuing them in their backyard. Garsteck immediately responded to the yard, where he talked to the assailant in an attempt to calm him. Meanwhile, the assailant’s wife escaped from the yard and his daughter fled to the house next door. Swartz, 47, automobile body technician, lived there. Swartz immediately set out in his truck to get help, but the assailant intercepted him and shot at him twice, at close range, missing him. Swartz continued to a commercial garage nearby and alerted others to the assault. The assailant then centered his attention on Garsteck, chasing him around a parked car and firing at him before running after his wife. Garsteck returned to his house, where he obtained a handgun. Seeing two minor boys in the assailant’s backyard, Garsteck returned there and ushered them to safety. With the assailant at large, he returned to the scene again, to look for others who might have needed assistance. As he did so, the assailant’s wife, bloodied, ran onto the highway on the other side of the property and flagged down an approaching car. The driver stopped for her and allowed her to enter through the passenger door. The assailant then walked up to the driver’s door, opened it, and shot the driver, mortally wounding her, as his wife fled the vehicle to safety. The assailant returned to his house. From the garage, Swartz saw that shooting. He drove to the scene and parked his truck across the highway to block any oncoming traffic. He then responded to the car to tend to the driver, as did Garsteck, but the assailant fired at them. They sought refuge in Swartz’s yard while maintaining verbal contact with the assailant, helping to keep him at his property. Police arrived shortly and arrested him. The assailant’s wife and daughter required hospital treatment for their wounds, and they recovered.
84792-9596 / 84658-9597
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Stacey Lynn Feiling, deceased
Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania
Stacey Lynn Feiling died rescuing Janet Piper from assault, Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, June 1, 2010. Bloodied, Piper, 37, fled from her home after her husband shot and wounded her. She ran onto the highway fronting their house and flagged down Feiling, 42, office assistant, who was driving home from work. Stopped at the scene, Feiling allowed Piper to enter her car, through its front passenger door. The assailant then walked up to the driver’s side of the vehicle and repeatedly ordered Feiling out. Piper fled to safety. The assailant opened the driver’s door and shot Feiling, mortally wounding her. He then walked back to his home, where neighbors maintained verbal contact with him to keep him on his property. Police arrived shortly and arrested him. Piper required hospital treatment for her wound, and she recovered.
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James W. Linthicum
Wichita, Kansas
James W. Linthicum rescued Edgar J. Arreola from assault, Wichita, Kansas, May 10, 2011. Edgar, 16, was outside his family’s apartment with a man when, without provocation, the man produced a knife having a seven-inch blade and attacked him, stabbing and cutting him repeatedly. Edgar shouted for help. Inside the apartment building, Linthicum, 34, maintenance worker, heard the shouting. He responded to the scene and saw the assailant standing over Edgar as he carried out the attack. Approaching from behind, Linthicum ran to the assailant, grasped him, and took him to the pavement, at some point the assailant discarding the knife. Freed, Edgar walked several feet away before collapsing to the ground. Linthicum secured the assailant until police arrived within minutes and arrested him. Edgar was hospitalized for treatment of his stab wounds and lacerations, and he recovered.
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Wilfred L. Spencer III
Moundsville, West Virginia
Wilfred L. Spencer III rescued Tiffany L. Aumick from assault, Wheeling, West Virginia, January 7, 2012. Aumick, 28, was in a bus shelter along a city street when a man approached and threatened her. He pulled her head back, held a knife to her throat, and cut her on the face when she struggled. Spencer, 43, contractor, was driving by about then. He stopped at the scene, approached Aumick and the assailant, and, standing between them, asked Aumick if she wanted to leave the shelter with him. Spencer then escorted Aumick to his truck, which she boarded. As he then started to return to the driver’s side of the vehicle, the assailant charged him from behind and stabbed him repeatedly. They went to the pavement and struggled, with Spencer pummeling the assailant until he overpowered him. Police arrived and arrested the assailant. Aumick was treated at the scene, and Spencer was hospitalized overnight for treatment, including surgery, of multiple stab wounds.
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John A. Lais, deceased
Burlington, Vermont
John A. Lais died attempting to help save a boy from drowning, Emerald Isle, North Carolina, August 20, 2011. A 9-year-old boy was playing in the Atlantic Ocean just off the beach when he began to drift farther from shore. The boy’s grandfather, Lais, 59, pipe fitter and draftsman, and his wife immediately responded, Lais from a house about 200 feet away and his wife from a point on the beach at the scene. Lais’s wife entered the water and began to swim toward the boy, as did Lais’s son, who also responded from the beach house. They reached the boy at a point about 100 feet from shore as Lais arrived at the scene, partially disrobed, and swam out toward them. He experienced difficulty in the breaking waves as his wife and son took the boy to shore. En route, his wife encountered Lais, who was exhausted. He submerged, and his wife was unsuccessful in her attempt to aid him. The others reached shore safely, but Lais, who was recovered shortly, was unresponsive. He was taken to the hospital but could not be revived, as he had drowned.
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Jeffrey W. Caldwell
Frenchtown, New Jersey
Michael A. Pellegrino
Brick, New Jersey
Frederick K. Dow
Ewing, New Jersey
Jeffrey W. Caldwell, Michael A. Pellegrino, and Frederick K. Dow saved Frances L. and Harris J. Kaplan from burning, Ewing, New Jersey, January 18, 2012. Injured, Frances, 81, and her son, Harris, 54, remained inside a van that had crashed into a wooden utility pole. The pole, which supported a transformer and high-voltage electric and other utility lines, broke off and fell along the passenger side of the van, blocking access to the passenger doors. Fallen lines draped over the driver’s side of the vehicle and lay near it. Caldwell, 43, police officer, responded to the scene, as did officers Pellegrino, 37, and Dow, 49, and concluded that the lines were live. When fire broke out at the rear of the vehicle, they concluded also that there was insufficient time to await power company response. With a tool from his car, Caldwell maneuvered among the fallen lines to the driver’s side of the van and broke out the window of the driver’s door to access the door’s inside handle. He opened the door, leaned into the vehicle, and grasped Frances. As he pulled her from the van, Pellegrino and Dow, standing amid the lines adjacent the vehicle, also grasped her, and all three men took her from the van to safety. Despite growing flames on the vehicle, they returned to the driver’s side and assisted Harris out and to safety. Flames shortly engulfed the van and burned intensely. Frances was hospitalized for treatment of numerous injuries, and Harris also required hospital treatment. Neither was burned, and they recovered. Caldwell sustained a laceration to his finger, and Pellegrino was treated for a minor eye injury. They too recovered.
84682-9587 / 84680-9588 / 84681-9589
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Alan B. Hall, deceased
Land O’Lakes, Florida
Alan B. Hall died saving Ruby S. Monahan from drowning, Dunedin, Florida, April 8, 2012. Ruby, 5, and her siblings were in wadable water of the Gulf of Mexico just off a beach on Honeymoon Island when a strong tidal current pulled them farther out, into deeper water. Their parents went out after them but struggled to support them. Hall, 65, retired sales representative, was on the beach in the vicinity and saw the situation develop. He immediately ran into the water, swam out to the family, and offered assistance. Ruby’s mother passed her off to Hall, who grasped her and took her parallel to shore, to escape the current. Then encountering difficulty himself, Hall became inert. Ruby made her way to safety at the beach as two men swam to Hall, one of them taking life vests. Those men secured Hall until a nearby boater approached and returned him to shore. Resuscitation efforts both there and at the hospital were unsuccessful, as Hall had drowned. Ruby’s family was returned to safety by personal watercraft.
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Christopher DeFelice
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Christopher DeFelice saved Enderson Tejada from drowning, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 7, 2011. Tejada, 20, was driving a car along the bank of the Schuylkill River when the vehicle left the roadway, went down an embankment, and entered the water. He shouted for help, saying that he could not swim, moments before the car completely submerged at a point about 30 feet from the bank. Scullers nearby on the river, including DeFelice, 32, web developer, saw the accident and rowed closer to the scene. With air temperature around 45 degrees and the water cold, DeFelice then dived from his boat and swam to where the car had submerged. Tejada surfaced but submerged again. DeFelice swam under water in that vicinity, located Tejada, and took him back to the surface. They struggled, causing both to submerge. Surfacing again and freeing himself of Tejada, DeFelice calmed Tejada and then secured a hold of him and swam to the bank, which in that vicinity was a wall. Others atop the wall pulled them from the water. Tejada required hospital treatment for hypothermia, and DeFelice was cold but not significantly injured. He recovered.
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Cody Lewis Decker
DeWitt, Michigan
Luke Daniel Vaughn
DeWitt, Michigan
Cody Lewis Decker and Luke Daniel Vaughn saved Tracy D. Lopez and rescued Carlos A. Adams from burning, Palm Coast, Florida, April 3, 2012. Badly injured, Lopez, 44, and Adams, 42, remained in the front seat of a car after a nighttime accident in which the vehicle left the highway, crashed into a tree, and caught fire in its engine area. Friends Cody and Luke, both high school students, 17, were in the vicinity and heard the crash. They ran to the scene. Finding the driver’s door of the car blocked and the front passenger door jammed shut, they bent down the window frame of the front passenger door to create access to the car’s interior. Cody and Luke then leaned through the opening, grasped Lopez, who was unconscious in the passenger seat, and pulled her out of the car. After taking her away from the vehicle, they returned to the door and again leaned inside. Flames by then were entering the passenger compartment, at the dashboard. Cody and Luke grasped Adams, who was in the driver’s seat, unconscious, his legs trapped by wreckage. They pulled on him, freeing him, and then removed him through the window and away from the car. Flames grew shortly to engulf the vehicle. Lopez and Adams both required hospitalization for treatment of extensive injuries, Adams’s including a serious burn to one foot.
84838-9590 / 84839-9591
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Brandon M. Wemhoff
Lincoln, Nebraska
Brandon M. Wemhoff saved Margaret E. Mullet from assault, Lincoln, Nebraska, May 29, 2011. Mullet, 54, a pharmacist, was behind the counter at the store where she worked when a masked man, armed with a gun and knife, climbed over the counter and threatened her. A customer in the store, Wemhoff, 29, telephone technician, witnessed the assault. He responded to the pharmacy, climbed over the counter, and confronted the assailant. A struggle between the two men broke out, with the assailant momentarily pinning Wemhoff against a counter. Wemhoff then overpowered the assailant and disarmed him, and he took him to the floor and pinned him there until police arrived shortly and arrested him. Mullet fled unharmed.
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Nicholas Ray Dorken
Innerkip, Ontario
Nicholas Ray Dorken saved a man from burning, Fort Myers, Florida, February 23, 2012. Unconscious, a 33-year-old man remained in the driver’s seat area of his car after a nighttime accident in which the vehicle left the roadway, struck a curb and a light pole, and came to rest upright in a parking lot. The car’s fuel tank ruptured in the accident, and escaping gasoline fed flames that issued from the rear of the vehicle and entered its interior. On vacation, Dorken, 28, firefighter, was driving in the vicinity and saw the flames. He responded to the scene and approached the driver’s side of the vehicle, where the man was visible through the opened front door. Despite overhead flames in the vehicle, Dorken stepped inside, grasped the man under his arms, and pulled him out. He dragged the man to safety as flames grew to engulf the vehicle, destroying it. The man required hospital treatment for injury sustained in the accident, but he was not burned.
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Tray Hughes Ross
Gainesville, Georgia
Tray Hughes Ross saved Harold Johnson, Jr., from burning, Gainesville, Georgia, November 21, 2011. Johnson, 76, who was blind, was inside his one-story house after fire broke out in one of the bedrooms at night. At work in a plant across the street, Ross, 20, line supervisor, became aware of the fire. He ran to the burning house and at the front door heard Johnson yelling for help. Johnson opened the door but in the darkness and smoke could see nothing. He went to the floor and, following Johnson’s voice, crawled through the living and dining rooms and entered the kitchen, which was adjacent the burning bedroom. He found Johnson lying on the kitchen floor. Ross pulled Johnson to his feet and then, carrying him, retraced his path back to the front door and exited the house to safety. Firefighters were unable to save the house, which was destroyed. Johnson was hospitalized for treatment of smoke inhalation. Ross also received hospital treatment for smoke inhalation, and he recovered.
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