Latest Carnegie Medal Awardees


PITTSBURGH, PA, December 20, 2013—In its fourth and final award announcement of 2013, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 20 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. One of the awardees, James Russell Jenkins of Columbus, Ohio, died in the performance of his act, by which he attempted to save a 5-year-old boy from drowning in a pond at an apartment complex. The boy broke through ice covering the pond, and Jenkins broke through in his rescue attempt.

The heroes announced today bring to 77 the number of awards made in 2013 and to 9,653 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 will also receive a financial grant. Throughout the 109 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, more than $35.6 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.

The awardees are:

John Bigwood Fair Oaks, Calif.
Alec Justin Smith San Jose, Calif.
Alfredo Serrano Bridgeport, Conn.
Dennis M. Shaw Bridgeport, Conn.
Richard Brian Andrade Colorado Springs, Colo.
Joshua H. Meltzer Bowling Green, Ky.
Nathaniel Bacon New Hampton, N.Y.
Robert P. Davies Golden Valley, Ariz.
Keith Knight Hooksett, N.H.
Scott Frye Concord, N.H.
William Michael Browne Wrightwood, Calif.
Jesse C. Garcia IV Adkins, Texas
James Russell Jenkins, deceased Columbus, Ohio
Scott E. Teuscher Roseville, Calif.
Jason R. Ivey Brookline, Mass.
Philip D. Petr Blue Hill, Neb.
Michael T. McDonnell Rockaway Park, N.Y.
Dylan Patrick Smith, now deceased Rockaway Beach, N.Y.
Vincent Lorenzo Meraz Escondido, Calif.
Katherine Lee Osiecki East Hampton, N.Y.

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

Fair Oaks, California
John Bigwood saved Glenda J. Gully from assault, Sacramento, California, February 21, 2012. After a gunman shot and killed a man in the parking lot of an office building, he chased Gully, 49, into the building’s lobby and, firing again, threatened her as she sought refuge at the security desk. Bigwood, 57, land surveyor, was in an adjoining room. Hearing the gunfire, he stepped into the lobby and saw Gully and the assailant, recognizing them. When Bigwood walked toward the assailant and stood between him and Gully, the assailant told him he was going to shoot Gully, and then he pointed the gun at Bigwood and threatened him. As Bigwood advanced, the assailant lowered his gun, Bigwood then convincing him to leave the building. The assailant exited the building, Bigwood following. Outside, the assailant shot himself, inflicting a mortal wound as police were arriving.
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San Jose, California
Alec Justin Smith saved a boy from falling, Yosemite National Park, California, April 9, 2013. A 9-year-old boy entered the Merced River just above Vernal Fall and was carried downstream by the swift current toward the brink of the fall. In another party on the bank at the scene, Alec, 16, high school student, was alerted to the situation. He immediately ran to the river, jumping over a three-foot-high railing en route. At the water line, he lay on the smooth granite bank, which was slick, and, holding by one arm to a knob in the rock, extended his body partially into the 36-degree water at a point about 20 feet from the fall. With his other hand he grasped the boy when the boy came within reach. Alec pulled the boy onto the bank, where another man then helped to secure them as they regained their footing.
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Bridgeport, Connecticut
Bridgeport, Connecticut
Alfredo Serrano and Dennis M. Shaw rescued Marjorie A. Meketa from assault, Bridgeport, Connecticut, December 22, 2011. At midday, Meketa, 77, was walking home from a grocery market when a large, deranged man ran at her from behind, tackled her to the pavement, and stabbed her repeatedly with a piece of glass. Nearby, Serrano, 45, maintenance worker, witnessed the attack. Yelling at the assailant, Serrano ran to him and struggled against him to separate him from Meketa. Serrano was cut on both hands in the attempt. Shaw, 53, who also witnessed the attack from nearby, responded by then, despite limitations to his mobility. He joined Serrano in fighting the assailant, who outweighed each of the men, and together they kept him away from Meketa. Police arrived shortly and arrested the assailant. Meketa required hospitalization for extensive injuries, which rendered her disabled. Serrano recovered from his cuts.
84602-9637 / 84755-9638
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
Richard Brian Andrade saved Joseph W. Doyle from electrocution, Colorado Springs, Colorado, March 16, 2012. While working in an office building on asbestos abatement, Doyle, 32, was removing a junction box from a conduit containing a live, 240-volt line and was shocked while holding to the conduit. A coworker, Andrade, 32, asbestos worker, was standing about 10 feet away and saw that Doyle was frozen in place. Concluding that Doyle was being shocked, Andrade ran to him and attempted to tackle him to break his hold of the conduit, but Doyle did not release it. Andrade then grasped the conduit and shook it free of Doyle’s hold. Doyle fell to the floor, unconscious, and Andrade sustained an electrical burn to his right leg before he could release the conduit. Andrade revived Doyle and called for help. Both men were taken to the hospital for treatment of electrical burns, and Doyle was treated for a laceration to his head.
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Bowling Green, Kentucky
Joshua H. Meltzer saved Erica R. Gagnon and others from drowning, Duluth, Minnesota, July 2, 2012. An 11-year-old girl was swimming in Lake Superior when she had difficulty attempting to return to the beach against the four-foot waves and strong outward current. Gagnon, 39, and another woman, 18, entered the water in rescue attempts but also encountered difficulty. Meltzer, 38, graduate student, had just arrived at the beach when he became aware of the situation. He entered the water and swam to the other woman, who at about 75 feet out was the closest to shore. Meltzer grasped her and swam her to wadable water, after which she returned to the beach. He then turned and swam out to Gagnon, who was with the girl at a point about 150 feet from shore and working to keep her afloat against waves that repeatedly submerged them. Telling Gagnon to float on her back and that he would return for her, Meltzer grasped the girl about the chest and attempted to swim to shore with his free arm. The current and overtaking waves impeded his progress, and he shouted for help. After a hard swim, Meltzer felt sand beneath his feet and worked his way to wadable water, where others removed the girl to safety. Handed a life jacket, Meltzer returned for Gagnon and, joined by another man, took her to the beach with the aid of the life jacket. Gagnon required hospital treatment, and she recovered.
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New Hampton, New York
Nathaniel Bacon saved Priscilla Woods from drowning, Selma, Alabama, January 8, 2013. Woods, 38, struggled to stay afloat in the Alabama River at a point about 70 feet from the closer bank. His attention having been attracted to her earlier, Bacon, 29, university student, drove to a point from which he could access the river bank and then ran about 650 feet to the scene. On seeing Woods flailing her arms in the water, Bacon removed his outer attire and entered the river, the water temperature of which was 49 degrees. Navigating over large debris along the bank, he waded and then swam to Woods. He hooked his arm under hers and across her chest and, stroking with his free arm, pulled her toward the bank. Halfway there, a shift in their position caused Bacon to submerge. Resurfacing, he established a hold on Woods again and continued swimming her toward the bank. A fisherman who had responded by then helped Bacon drag Woods from the river. Woods was taken to the hospital for treatment. Bacon sustained cuts to his feet, and he was tired and cold. He fully recovered.
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Golden Valley, Arizona
Robert P. Davies helped to save Charlotte Sowards from burning, Golden Valley, Arizona, December 21, 2012. Sowards, 92, was in the bedroom at one end of her mobile home after fire broke out in the living room, at the other end. Flames spread quickly and filled the house with dense smoke. From his home a half-mile away, Davies, 48, contractor, saw smoke, and he responded to the scene, where he learned that Sowards was trapped. He climbed a stepladder to one of the bedroom’s windows and, despite dense smoke in the room, entered. Sowards was standing at the window, and Davies grasped her to support her there so that she could breathe. The fire chief, who had responded about then, also entered the room, and he and Davies made repeated attempts to lift Sowards to the window but were unsuccessful. With flames starting to breach the bedroom through its door, Davies and the chief took Sowards to another window in that room, but again they failed in their efforts to lift her. The chief then braced his shoulder beneath her, and as Davies lifted her by an arm, the men boosted her to the window and maneuvered her head first through it, to others outside the house who lowered her to the ground. The chief then aided Davies through the window and exited to safety himself. Flames soon engulfed the bedroom. Sowards required hospital treatment, as did the chief, for smoke inhalation. Davies also sustained smoke inhalation and was treated at the scene.
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Hooksett, New Hampshire
Concord, New Hampshire
Keith Knight and Scott Frye saved Steven R. Marques from burning, Andover, Massachusetts, April 29, 2012. Marques, 61, was trapped in the driver’s seat of his sport utility vehicle after an accident in which the vehicle left the highway, went down an embankment, and, overturning onto its driver’s side, caught fire on its undercarriage. Another motorist, Knight, 41, a firefighter from a neighboring state, witnessed the accident. He stopped at the scene and responded to the vehicle. Reaching through its broken-out windshield, Knight pulled on Marques but realized that he was trapped in the wreckage by his legs. A third motorist, Frye, 45, a state trooper from a neighboring state, also witnessed the accident and responded, and he joined in the effort to pull Marques from the burning vehicle. Frye then climbed head first into the vehicle and, extending his body over Marques, located the lever securing the driver’s seat. He released the seat, enabling him to free Marques’s legs. Frye then grasped Marques by an arm and, as he backed from the car pulling him, Knight grasped the other arm, and together the men pulled Marques to safety. Flames grew shortly to engulf the car. Injured in the accident, Marques required hospital treatment, as did Frye, for smoke inhalation and a cut to one knee.
84889-9641 / 84888-9642
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Wrightwood, California
William Michael Browne helped to save a boy from falling, Victorville, California, September 19, 2012. In a suicide attempt, a 16-year-old boy stood on the outside edge of a concrete parapet of a highway overpass and held to a fence there. The overpass spanned a multi-lane interstate and was about 25 feet above the highway surface. A crisis negotiator for the sheriff’s department, Browne, 46, was called to the scene, but the boy was unresponsive to him and others present. When the boy appeared to be fainting, officers secured finger holds of his attire through the chain link fence. Without proper equipment, Browne mounted the parapet, scaled the six-foot-high fence, and lowered himself to the parapet’s outer edge. He advanced to the boy, straddled him, and held him to the fence. After several minutes, firefighters extended a ladder from the highway to them and lowered the boy to safety, Browne following.
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Adkins, Texas
Jesse C. Garcia IV saved Morgan C. Bryant from burning, Adkins, Texas, November 3, 2012. Bryant, 19, was trapped in the driver’s seat of her car after a nighttime accident in which the vehicle left the roadway and struck a utility pole. Flames broke out at the front of the vehicle and entered the front of its passenger compartment. Conscious, Bryant screamed for help. Garcia, 50, police officer, was on his way home from work in another municipality when he came upon the scene. He approached the driver’s side of the burning car, leaned inside, and attempted to release Bryant’s safety belt but found that it was jammed. Holding the belt to flames issuing from the console area, Garcia pulled and stretched it until it broke as it caught fire, and spreading flames ignited his uniform near the shoulder area. After freeing Bryant of the belt, Garcia lifted her from the car. Flames grew shortly to engulf and destroy the vehicle. Bryant required hospitalization for treatment of serious burns and other injuries, and Garcia was treated at the emergency room for first- and second-degree burns to his right arm and the right side of his face. He fully recovered.
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Columbus, Ohio
James Russell Jenkins died attempting to save Elijah T. Walker from drowning, Columbus, Ohio, February 7, 2013. Elijah, 5, broke through ice covering a section of the retention pond in the apartment complex where he lived and held to the edge of solid ice at a point about 50 feet from the bank. Driving through the complex, Jenkins, 30, technician, was alerted to the situation and joined those on the bank in their attempts to save Elijah. When Elijah floated face down in the open water, Jenkins stepped onto the ice and started to walk toward him, but cracking and breaking ice took him to his hands and knees. Jenkins then crawled toward Elijah but broke through the ice at a point about 10 feet from him. Using his arms and fists to make a path through the ice, Jenkins reached the boy, and, cradling him, kept his head above the surface of the 39-degree water while calling for help. Unsuccessful in his attempt to swim toward the bank, Jenkins submerged but was able to keep Elijah’s head out of the water until he too submerged. Responding divers recovered Jenkins and Elijah, and both were taken to the hospital. Jenkins could not be revived, as he had drowned. Elijah died three days later.
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Roseville, California
Brookline, Massachusetts
Scott E. Teuscher and Jason R. Ivey rescued Amy L. Stapleton-Horn from burning, Grass Valley, California, July 12, 2012. Unconscious, Stapleton-Horn, 37, remained in the driver’s seat of her car after an accident in which the vehicle struck an oncoming tractor-trailer in the vicinity of its fuel tanks. The tanks burst into flame, setting fire to the tractor and its flatbed trailer, the car coming to rest in close proximity to the flames. Motorists, including Teuscher, 35, courier, and Ivey, 41, handyman and caretaker, stopped at the scene. Despite the growing and advancing flames, Teuscher went to the driver’s side of Stapleton-Horn’s car, opened the front door, and, leaning inside, unfastened her safety belt. As he began to pull her out, Ivey joined him and helped take her from the vehicle and carry her across the highway to safety. An explosion at the tractor-trailer sent flames to the car, and both vehicles were shortly engulfed, with flames spreading to the trees and grass along the highway. Stapleton-Horn required extensive hospitalization for treatment of serious injuries, including burns of up to third-degree.
85092-9646 / 85405-9647
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Blue Hill, Nebraska
Philip D. Petr helped to save Dustin Tesdahl and others from burning, Blue Hill, Nebraska, September 5, 2012. Tesdahl, 18, and six other students, ages 6 to 10, were passengers on a school bus that collided with a tractor-trailer carrying hay bales. Both vehicles went off the roadway, the bus coming to rest partially in a ditch with the tractor-trailer close by. Fire broke out at the wreckage and spread. A motorist, Petr, 46, research technician, was approaching the scene and saw smoke. Stopping there, he was alerted by a boy who had escaped the bus that others were inside. Petr found that the bus’s service door was jammed shut and that its emergency door at the rear was blocked by a bale of hay. Obtaining a tool from his truck, Petr broke out a window along the driver’s side of the bus and, hoisted to it by another man who had responded, climbed inside. He handed two of the remaining children out through the window to the other man and then crawled over dislodged seats blocking the aisle to reach Tesdahl, who was badly injured. As the bus filled with smoke under deteriorating conditions, Petr took Tesdahl to the front of the vehicle and handed him out to the other man. Two of the remaining students made it to safety through a broken window. Tesdahl died of his injuries, as did the drivers of the vehicles and another of the students. Petr sustained a minor burn to his leg from which he recovered.
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Rockaway Park, New York
Rockaway Beach, New York
Michael T. McDonnell and Dylan Patrick Smith helped to save Janet R. Bavasso, Kathryn M. Cregg, and four others from drowning, Rockaway Beach, New York, October 29, 2012. In the darkness, Bavasso, 52; Cregg, 52; and five others, who lived in two adjacent houses, became stranded in them by the catastrophic storm surge of Hurricane Sandy, which flooded their neighborhood with more than five feet of water. A fire that broke out nearby and began to spread in the 75 m.p.h. wind threatened the two houses, and their seven occupants, including McDonnell, 51, sales manager, gathered to flee together; their plan was to cross the flooded street to get out of the fire’s projected path, despite the floodwater’s very swift current and the debris that it carried. McDonnell directed the assembly of cords and rope, which he tied together to make a line. Smith, 22, university student, who lived across the street, paddled his surfboard to the scene on hearing screams. Using the surfboard, he took one end of the makeshift line across the street, where another neighbor secured it to his house, and then he returned to the victims. McDonnell and Smith aided Bavasso onto the board, and she was ferried across the street by Smith, who used the line as a guide. Meanwhile, Cregg held to McDonnell’s back as he waded and swam across the street, also using the makeshift line as a guide. Despite advancing flames, which had reached the victims’ homes by then, McDonnell and Smith returned twice for the remaining victims and took them one at a time across the street to the other neighbor’s house. The two houses burned to the ground, as did 30 other structures in the neighborhood, but those across the street in the victims’ block were spared.
85565-9651 / 85415-9652
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Escondido, California
Vincent Lorenzo Meraz rescued a woman from assault, San Marcos, California, January 21, 2013. A 40-year-old woman was pulled from her car by her male companion and was being beaten by him in the street in a residential neighborhood. Standing at his parked truck nearby, Meraz, 48, machinist, witnessed the attack. He approached the assailant from behind and kicked him, distracting him from the woman. The men grappled, after which the assailant got into the woman’s car and drove from the immediate scene. Meraz returned to his truck for his telephone and was standing at the driver’s side when the assailant, who had turned the woman’s car around, drove back to the scene and struck Meraz against the truck. The truck was knocked onto the sidewalk, and Meraz, his ankle badly fractured, fell to the pavement. The assailant then got out of the car and attacked Meraz, who was able to establish a hold on him in an attempt to keep him for police. Pulling himself from his outer attire, the assailant broke free and fled the scene on foot. He was later arrested. The woman was treated at the scene for facial injuries, and she recovered. Meraz was hospitalized a week for treatment, including surgery, of his injuries.
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East Hampton, New York
Katherine Lee Osiecki saved a woman from drowning, Amagansett, New York, April 21, 2013. At night, a 57-year-old woman cried for help while treading water in Napeague Bay, off Long Island Sound, at a point about 225 feet from shore. Osiecki, 21, university student, who lived nearby, heard her and with her boyfriend responded to the beach, where, with the aid of a flashlight, they saw the woman bobbing in the water. Osiecki removed her outer attire and entered the water, the temperature of which was 47 degrees. She waded and then swam to the woman, who reached out as if to grab Osiecki. Osiecki submerged to avoid contact, and then, positioning the woman to float on her back, she reached across the woman’s chest and, supporting her with her hip, swam back to shore, guided by the flashlight. In wadable water, Osiecki stood and helped the woman walk to the beach. The woman was taken to the hospital for treatment. Osiecki, cold and tired, sustained cuts to her feet, and she recovered.
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