Carnegie Medals awarded to 18
for extraordinary acts of heroism

PITTSBURGH, PA, APRIL 29, 1999—In its second award announcement of 1999, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 18 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. Four of the awardees died in the performance of their heroic acts.

The heroes announced today bring to 8,275 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, $23.4 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.

The awardees are:

Kevin W. Linderman Little Egg Trout Creek, Mont.
Henry Shier, deceased Chalk River, Ont.
Harold Ford, deceased Dover, Ark.
James H. Peedin Selma, N.C.
Leo P. Pelletier North Vancouver, B.C.
Bradlee M. McClay Washington, Pa.
Starletter Williams Gastonia, N.C.
Rafael Bonefont, deceased Amsterdam, N.Y.
Kenney J. Beshears Carson City, Nev.
Boyd R. Stapley Carson City, Nev.
Charles H. Ray, Jr. Concord, Calif.
Monte R. Henson Mt. Zion, Ill.
Bradford S. Rounds Gainesville, Ga.
John Wojcik Harrison, N.J.
Daniel W. Campbell, deceased Kansas City, Mo.
Michael A. Raimo Kansas City, Mo.
Richard L. Ashlaw Massena, N.Y.
Teresa R. Little Yuba City, Calif.

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

Kevin W. Linderman
Trout Creek, Montana
Kevin W. Linderman saved Travis P. Johnson and attempted to save Tracy J. Fields from burning, Paradise, Montana, January 18, 1998. Brothers Travis, 3, and Tracy, 10 months, were inside their family’s one-story home after fire broke out in the living room. Their mother screamed for help, alerting Linderman, 42, who was visiting in the neighborhood. As smoke and flames precluded entry through the front door, Linderman responded to the back door, which opened into the bedroom. With difficulty, he opened the door sufficiently to enter the burning house, then crawled about 16 feet across the smoke-filled room before finding the bunk bed on which Travis lay. Linderman took Travis from the bed and crawled back to the door, holding him. Outside, Linderman learned that Tracy remained in the house. He re-entered the burning structure in search of Tracy, but deteriorating conditions forced him back out. Tracy’s body was later recovered by firefighters. Travis and Linderman sustained smoke inhalation, Travis requiring hospitalization. They recovered.
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Henry Shier, deceased
Chalk River, Ontario
Henry Shier died attempting to rescue Virginia M. Shier from burning, Chalk River, Ontario, March 17, 1998. Ms. Shier, 56, was in a basement bedroom of her family’s one-story house when, at night, fire broke out at the furnace, which also was in the basement. Flames spread to the adjacent stairs, blocking them. Ms. Shier’s son, Henry, 28, electronic technician, who had been asleep on the main floor, fled the house, then responded to a point outside a window in the basement bedroom. Gaining access to the house through the window, Henry climbed into the basement. Arriving neighbors saw him at the base of the window with his mother. Efforts by Henry and the neighbors to remove Ms. Shier through the window were not successful, and Henry disappeared from view into the smoke. Firefighters found him and his mother at the base of the window. They had died of smoke inhalation.
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Harold Ford, deceased
Dover, Arkansas
Harold Ford died attempting to save Cory E., Amber M., Ashlee N., and Autumn L. Ford from burning, Dover, Arkansas, December 28, 1997. Cory, 21, and his wife, Amber, 20, and their daughters, Ashlee, 3, and Autumn, 9 months, were sleeping in their mobile home when, before dawn, fire erupted at the other end of the structure. Cory’s parents lived next door, and his father, Ford, 41, forklift operator, discovered the fire. Ford ran to the scene and broke out a window to Ashlee’s bedroom but found that she was not in that room. He then entered the mobile home through the window as other family members attempted to gain access inside. Flames engulfed the mobile home, trapping all five victims. Found in the master bedroom, they had succumbed to effects of the fire.
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James H. Peedin
Selma, North Carolina
James H. Peedin rescued Pansy F. and James H. Stephens from burning, Angier, North Carolina, February 10, 1998. Ms. Stephens, 79, and her son James, 46, were inside their one-story home after fire erupted in the kitchen. A passing motorist, Peedin, 46, store manager, saw flames inside the house. He stopped at the scene and entered the house through the kitchen door. By then, flames had spread to the walls and ceiling of the room. Peedin went to Ms. Stephens, who was in the kitchen, and escorted her outside, where he learned that James was still in the burning house. Peedin re-entered the kitchen and crossed it to the adjoining living room, where he found James asleep. Peedin carried James outside, then re-entered the house in search of any other occupants. Finding none, he exited a final time. Ms. Stephens required hospital treatment for burns to her arms. Peedin was given oxygen at the scene, and he recovered.
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Leo P. Pelletier
North Vancouver, British Columbia
Leo P. Pelletier saved Rajinder K. Dewat from burning, North Vancouver, British Columbia, June 24, 1997. Dewat, 31, was the driver of a dump truck that, in a highway accident, left the roadway and overturned onto its driver’s side, spilling diesel fuel in the vicinity. Flames broke out in the area of the cab, threatening Dewat, who was trapped in the wreckage. Pelletier, 44, electrical engineer, who worked nearby, heard the accident and immediately ran to the scene. He approached the cab of the overturned truck, then saw that Dewat had put his head through a very small space between the partially opened driver’s door and the ground. Pelletier grasped Dewat, who was soaked in diesel fuel, and pulled on him repeatedly, laboriously maneuvering him from the wreckage as the cab continued to burn. Pelletier helped Dewat to stand, then walked him away from the scene. Dewat required hospital treatment for his injuries, from which he recovered.
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Bradlee M. McClay
Washington, Pennsylvania
Bradlee M. McClay saved Theodore F. Staats from burning, Washington, Pennsylvania, March 1, 1997. Staats, 84, remained in his one-story house after fire broke out in the living room and spread to the bathroom. Smoke filled the house. McClay, 24, police officer, responded to the scene, where he learned that Staats was inside the burning house. McClay entered the kitchen through the back door of the house but was repulsed by the smoke, which precluded visibility. After additional attempts to penetrate the house, McClay dropped to his hands and knees and, guided by the sound of Staats’s voice, crawled through the kitchen and an adjacent hall to where he found Staats near the burning bathroom. McClay stood, grasped Staats, and was backing toward the kitchen door when he lost his sense of direction. Guided by a neighbor, who stood shouting at the door, McClay took Staats outside and to safety. Staats and McClay were given oxygen at the scene, then were taken to the hospital, where they were treated for smoke inhalation, Staats being detained overnight. They recovered.
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Starletter Williams
Gastonia, North Carolina
Starletter Williams saved Nancy T. Mayes from being struck by a train, Gastonia, North Carolina, January 7, 1998. Ms. Mayes, 49, remained in her automobile, which, in dense fog before sunrise, became stuck between tracks on a rail bed. A freight train approaching the scene at 45 m.p.h. on one of the tracks was observed by Starletter, 14, high school student, and others with her who were in a car stopped in traffic nearby. Starletter immediately exited the car and ran about 30 feet to the driver’s side of Ms. Mayes’s car. She yelled to Ms. Mayes to get out of her car, then opened its driver’s door, grasped Ms. Mayes by the arm, and pulled her out. Starletter and Ms. Mayes ran from the track and were just a short distance from it when the train, at only slightly diminished speed, struck Ms. Mayes’s car, destroying it.
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Rafael Bonefont, deceased
Amsterdam, New York
Rafael Bonefont died attempting to save Elijah A. Rivera and Arkedio R. Bonefont from burning, Amsterdam, New York, February 1, 1998. Elijah, 17; Arkedio, 7, and their father, Bonefont, 55, merchant marine, were in second-floor bedrooms of the family’s house when fire broke out on the first floor, in the kitchen, at night. Bonefont awakened his wife, who was asleep on the first floor, and alerted her to the fire, then took her to the front door and outside to safety. As flames grew rapidly, Bonefont reentered the house through the front door and went up the stairs to the second floor. The house was destroyed by fire. Bonefont, Elijah, and Arkedio were removed from the house later that day; all had succumbed to effects of the fire.
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Kenney J. Beshears
Carson City, Nevada
Boyd R. Stapley
Carson City, Nevada
Charles H. Ray, Jr.
Concord, California
Kenney J. Beshears, Boyd R. Stapley, and Charles H. Ray, Jr., rescued Catherine E. Summers from assault, Carson City, Nevada, December 11, 1997. Ms. Summers, 37, a deputy sheriff, was attempting to detain a disturbed man in the parking lot of a store when the man took her gun from its holster. Ms. Summers and the man then struggled for control of it. Working on a vehicle nearby in the lot, Beshears, 37, mechanic, saw the struggle. He ran to a point behind the assailant, then grasped his arms and pulled them back. The gun fired, the bullet striking the pavement. Stapley, 50, business operator, and Ray, 38, mechanic, who also worked in the store, ran to the scene and joined in the struggle against the assailant, who outweighed each of the rescuers. Stapley grasped the assailant about the neck to help subdue him while Ray pried the assailant’s fingers from the gun. The men helped take the assailant, who remained combative, to the pavement and held him there until additional officers arrived shortly and apprehended him.
72411-8266 / 73020-8267 / 72412-8268
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Monte R. Henson
Mt. Zion, Illinois
Monte R. Henson rescued Adam D. Wilkins from attacking dogs, Mt. Zion, Illinois, January 28, 1998. Adam, 6, was walking home from his school bus stop, followed by two adult, male rottweilers. Without provocation, the dogs began to attack him, taking him to the ground and biting him. Henson, 56, concrete finisher, had just then pulled into his nearby driveway and saw the attack. He immediately ran to Adam and, fighting the dogs for him, picked the boy up and cradled him against his body. Henson then backed up toward his house, which was 60 feet away, the dogs following, continuing their attack. At his house, Henson stepped inside to safety. The dogs left the scene but were shortly captured and later destroyed. Adam was taken to the hospital, where he underwent surgery for a severe bite wound to a thigh. He sustained also scrapes and contusions. Henson also required hospital treatment, for puncture wounds to both hands. He and Adam both recovered.
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Bradford S. Rounds
Gainesville, Georgia
Bradford S. Rounds saved Escilda Amador from burning, Buford, Georgia, February 11, 1998. Ms. Amador, 97, was inside her family’s home after fire erupted in a first-floor bedroom and filled the house with dense smoke. Rounds, 29, deputy sheriff, was patrolling the area when he learned of the fire. He immediately responded to the scene, where he learned that Ms. Amador was still inside the house. Hearing her scream, Rounds entered the house through the kitchen door, then, in dense smoke which precluded visibility, followed her screams by crawling about 45 feet through the kitchen and a hall to a bathroom at the opposite end of the house. Rounds forced open the door to the bathroom, which was adjacent to the burning bedroom, and found Ms. Amador. He picked her up, then began to drag her through the hall toward the kitchen. En route, he became disoriented momentarily, but he succeeded in dragging Ms. Amador through the kitchen and outside to safety. There, Rounds collapsed. Both he and Ms. Amador were hospitalized for smoke inhalation, and they recovered.
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John Wojcik
Harrison, New Jersey
John Wojcik helped to save a girl from drowning, Harrison, New Jersey, October 11, 1997. Attempting suicide, a 15-year-old girl jumped from a bridge into the Passaic River and was carried downstream by the current. Wojcik, 29, laborer, who was fishing from the bank of the river, saw her struggling in the water. He immediately removed his outer attire, then entered the river at the bridge and swam with the current to her. Securing a hold on her, Wojcik towed the girl against the current back toward the bridge, to the end of a bridge pier. Clinging to its side, he held the girl against the pier. Arriving firefighters positioned a ladder into the water from atop the pier and aided Wojcik in removing the girl from the river. She was then lifted to the bridge deck and taken to the hospital for treatment. Wojcik was treated at the scene for hypothermia, and he suffered ill effect from having ingested river water, but he recovered.
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Daniel W. Campbell, deceased
Kansas City, Missouri
Michael A. Raimo
Kansas City, Missouri
Daniel W. Campbell, who died, and Michael A. Raimo rescued a woman from assault, Kansas City, Missouri, November 18, 1997. A 45-year-old woman was attacked by her live-in boyfriend shortly after she arrived home. Her neighbor, Campbell, 53, pharmaceutical operator, and Raimo, 37, general contractor, who was working in the neighborhood, had seen her drive home and were responding to the scene out of concern for her, as they had earlier seen the boyfriend acting erratically. As Campbell and Raimo approached the woman’s house, Campbell carrying a ball bat, they heard her screaming. Suddenly, the woman ran out the front door, followed closely by the assailant, who was armed with a knife. The assailant swung the knife at Raimo, who avoided a blow, then set upon Campbell, stabbing him in the chest. Mortally wounded, Campbell collapsed to the ground. As the assailant and the woman then struggled nearby, Raimo took the bat and struck the assailant with it. The assailant stood and returned to the house, where he was arrested by police.
72300-8272 / 73347-8273
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Richard L. Ashlaw
Massena, New York
Richard L. Ashlaw rescued James H. Baker from burning, Massena, New York, March 16, 1998. Baker, 51, lay unconscious on the floor of his second-floor apartment after fire broke out in the apartment and filled it with dense smoke. Ashlaw, 46, border patrol agent, saw the fire from across the street and, after reporting it, responded to the scene. Learning that Baker was unaccounted for, he went to the second floor of the building and kicked in the door to Baker’s apartment. Dense smoke poured out of the unit. Using a fire extinguisher to put out some of the flames, near the door, Ashlaw gained entry to the apartment and began to crawl through it. After going about six feet, he was forced out, for air. Hearing Baker moan, Ashlaw re-entered the burning apartment, penetrated it farther, and found Baker, about 20 feet from the door. He grasped Baker’s wrists and dragged him from the apartment. An arriving firefighter assisted Ashlaw in taking Baker to the first floor and out of the building to safety. Baker was hospitalized for treatment of smoke inhalation and burns. Ashlaw sustained smoke inhalation and minor burns, and he recovered.
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Teresa R. Little
Yuba City, California
Teresa R. Little saved Ann C. Murphy from being struck by a train, Chico, California, November 19, 1997. Ms. Murphy, 52, was attempting to cross a railroad track in her motorized wheelchair when the wheelchair became stuck in the crossing. A freight train was approaching at about 25 m.p.h. A motorist stopped at the crossing, Ms. Little, 34, school teacher, saw the train, then saw that Ms. Murphy remained on the track. Ms. Little ran to her and, standing between the rails of the track, tried to free the wheelchair, the train then about 1,500 feet away. Unable to dislodge the chair, Ms. Little ran to a point in front of it and released the straps securing Ms. Murphy. The train’s crew, meanwhile, had activated its emergency brakes. Ms. Little grasped Ms. Murphy, pulled her from the wheelchair, and dragged her away from the track. When they had gone about 15 feet, the train’s lead locomotive struck the wheelchair, propelling it 30 feet.
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