Latest Carnegie Medal Awardees


PITTSBURGH, PA, July 2, 2014—In its second award announcement of 2014, 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 heroes lost their lives in the performance of their lifesaving acts, and another of the heroes, Charles T. Carbonell, Sr., is receiving his second medal, the first having been awarded in 2007. Carbonell is only the fifth person in the Hero Fund’s history to have been awarded the medal twice.

The heroes announced today bring to 9,697 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, $36.2 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.

The awardees are:

Daniel R. Thibeault Edwards, Ont.
Albert Costantini Levittown, Pa.
Frederick S. Williamson New Hope, Pa.
Alexander Lias Travis Kirkville, N.Y.
Marcos Diaz Homestead, Fla.
Jose Alvarado Kandiyohi, Minn.
Waseng Xiong Rogers, Ark.
Kenneth Brandon Cowart, deceased Denison, Texas
Michael D. McNally Marstons Mills, Mass.
Steven David Pippin Royal Palm Beach, Fla.
Mitchell L. McLean, deceased North Wilkesboro, N.C.
Paul F. Frontiero III, deceased Nashua, N.H.
Dion C. LeFebvre Westlock, Alta.
Shane M. Robinson Spencer, Ohio
Danny Nash, deceased Lafayette, Tenn.
Lee Kenneth Murray Comox, B.C.
Charles T. Carbonell, Sr. Tampa, Fla.
Richard Irvin Moore Laguna Niguel, Calif.
Tyler P. Feagan Dallas, Ga.
Dillon Humphries Hiram, Ga.
Bruce Edward Smoot Front Royal, Va.
John M. Curley, Sr. Bellmore, 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

Edwards, Ontario
Daniel R. Thibeault rescued Donald O. Bickerton from burning, Edwards, Ontario, November 8, 2012. Bickerton, 65, was in his two-story house after fire broke out there at night and spread. At his home next door, Thibeault, 43, supervisor, was alerted to the fire. He ran to the burning house, kicked open the front door, the frame of which had flames on it, and dumped a large barrel of water from nearby through the doorway. Thibeault entered the living room, finding dense smoke and flames throughout much of the room. Despite the intense heat, Thibeault proceeded toward a sofa bed in that room, finding Bickerton partially beneath it, on the floor. Thibeault lifted the bed, picked Bickerton up, and returned to the front door and exited. Flames grew to engulf and destroy the house. Bickerton was taken to the hospital for treatment of injury. Thibeault’s clothing was singed.
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Levittown, Pennsylvania
New Hope, Pennsylvania
Albert Costantini and Frederick S. Williamson saved Andrew J. Reilly from burning, Southampton, Pennsylvania, December 23, 2012. Reilly, 71, was in the family room of his split-level house after a fire broke out in that room. Neighbors discovered and reported the fire, heard Reilly moan, and removed a window to access the ground-level room, but they were not successful in finding him. Alerted to the fire, Costantini, 59, a police officer on duty in the vicinity, responded to the scene. Learning that Reilly was still inside the house, he entered the family room through the window. Despite intense heat, dense smoke that severely restricted visibility and hampered his breathing, and growing flames along one wall of the room, Costantini crawled forward to search for Reilly, not knowing his location. He found Reilly on the floor near the far wall. Grasping Reilly’s waistband, Costantini began to drag Reilly toward the window, but about halfway there he became disoriented. Another officer who had responded about then, Williamson, 46, entered the house through the window and, calling out to Costantini, located him in the dense smoke. Together the officers dragged Reilly to the window and lifted him through it to others. As Costantini and Williamson were exiting the house, a flashover occurred in the room, exacerbating conditions and sending flames through the window. Costantini and Williamson escaped to safety. Reilly required hospitalization for injuries sustained in the fire, and Costantini and Williamson were checked at the scene for minor burns. They recovered.
85747-9678 / 85748-9679
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Kirkville, New York
Alexander Lias Travis saved Stuart E. DeLand from drowning, Eaton, New York, August 15, 2013. DeLand, 93, remained in the driver’s seat of his automobile after it left the roadway, entered Bradley Brook Reservoir, and began to sink in water about 12 feet deep at a point about 35 feet from the bank. Alexander, 17, high school student, was a passenger in a vehicle that stopped at the scene. He immediately ran to the bank of the reservoir, removed his shoes, and entered the water. After swimming to the driver’s side of DeLand’s car, the front end of which was submerged, he attempted without success to open the driver’s door. He was successful in opening the rear door on that side of the car, and water then rushing inside forced him into the back-seat area. Alexander reached over the center console and released DeLand’s safety belt but was unable to pull him from his seat. He exited the vehicle and pulled on the window of the driver’s door until it broke out. Reaching inside the submerging car through the window opening, he grasped DeLand and pulled him head first out of the car. They both submerged, but Alexander was able to take DeLand back to the surface. He then swam DeLand to the bank, where he had help in removing him from the water. DeLand required hospitalization, and Alexander sustained lacerations on his hands, from which he recovered.
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Homestead, Florida
Marcos Diaz helped to save Rolando Riverón from drowning, Key Largo, Florida, July 19, 2012. While fishing, Riverón, 47, and two other men were thrown into the Atlantic Ocean when their small boat capsized late in the day at a point about 800 feet from shore. Although his two companions were able to swim to shore, where they alerted help, Riverón was tangled in fishing line, preventing him from swimming. He held to a plastic cooler to keep him afloat. Diaz, 29, state trooper, responded to the shore at the scene. He removed items of attire and then entered the water and began to swim toward Riverón. The tide was rising, and choppy water and a northward current impeded his efforts. Emergency medical personnel arrived on shore, and from them Diaz obtained a body-immobilization board. Diaz lay atop it and, using it as a surfboard, swam to Riverón. He extended one end of the board to Riverón and then gave him a knife, which Riverón used to cut himself free of the fishing line. Both men held to the board and attempted to return to shore in waning daylight, but they tired against the current. The Coast Guard had been alerted, and Diaz used a light that Riverón was wearing to signal its approaching craft. The men were taken aboard the boat and returned to shore, tired but uninjured.
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Kandiyohi, Minnesota
Jose Alvarado saved Jason W. and Julia G. Hoffman from burning, Kandiyohi, Minnesota, August 17, 2012. Siblings Jason, 5, and Julia, 8, remained in the back seat of a minivan after a highway accident in which the vehicle left the roadway, entered a ditch, and caught fire at its front end. Alvarado, 48, heavy equipment operator, approached on the highway and stopped at the scene. After an unsuccessful attempt to gain entry to the minivan through its front passenger door, he went to the driver’s side and, aided by another man who responded, removed the window of the rear door. Despite growing and spreading flames, Alvarado extended his upper body through the window opening and unbuckled Jason’s safety belt. Jason grasped Alvarado about the neck, and Alvarado backed from the vehicle with him. After taking the boy to safety, Alvarado returned to the passenger side of the van, where the window of the rear door was missing. Although flames had entered the front of the vehicle by then and dense smoke was accumulating inside, he again extended his upper body into the vehicle. Julia, who was unconscious, was pinned by a leg in the wreckage. Alvarado unbuckled her safety belt, freed her leg, and pulled her out of the minivan as police officers fought the flames with fire extinguishers. Jason was hospitalized for treatment of his injuries, and he recovered, but Julia died shortly after her rescue. Alvarado sustained lacerations to his arms and hands and exacerbated an existing back injury.
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Rogers, Arkansas
Waseng Xiong saved Betty Edwards from burning, Rogers, Arkansas, March 7, 2013. Edwards, 76, was in her family’s mobile home after fire broke out near its front door and spread, blocking access to the door. Xiong, 31, a police officer who was on duty, responded to the scene and learned that Edwards was inside the structure. After an unsuccessful attempt to break through a rear door of the mobile home, Xiong went to a nearby sliding glass door and broke out the glass with his service baton. As the base of the door was a few feet off the ground, Xiong reached inside the mobile home to remove a chair and then stepped onto the chair and entered the dining area of the smoke-filled structure. He shouted to Edwards, and she responded. Although the smoke significantly restricted his visibility and hampered his breathing, Xiong made his way to Edwards, finding her seated in the adjoining kitchen. He positioned her on her back and then pulled her as he crawled to the door. Another officer who had partially entered the structure took Edwards from the mobile home and with help moved her to safety. Xiong then exited the structure. Edwards and Xiong required hospital treatment for ill effects of the fire, Xiong’s including lacerations to a leg. He recovered.
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Denison, Texas
Kenneth Brandon Cowart died attempting to save two boys from drowning, Cartwright, Oklahoma, June 30, 2012. The boys, aged 13 and 11, were wading in the Red River below a hydroelectric and flood-control dam after a warning from the dam that water was to be released from Lake Texoma into the river. Upon release, the water rose quickly and became turbulent and swift, trapping the boys at a point about 100 feet from the nearer bank. Cowart, 38, food preparer, who was not in the boys’ party, was fishing from that bank. He entered the water and moved toward the boys but also became trapped by the rough water conditions. Firefighters arrived. One of them, tethered by line, waded into the river and rescued the younger boy, the older boy making it to safety on his own. Cowart submerged about then. His body was recovered from the river about two hours later. He had drowned.
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Marstons Mills, Massachusetts
Michael D. McNally rescued Kadi A. Wells from burning, Marstons Mills, Massachusetts, June 5, 2013. Wells, 25, was the passenger in a car that, in an accident, left the roadway, struck a tree head on, and caught fire at its front end. Her seat back collapsed into the rear of the passenger compartment, leaving her legs in the front-seat area. McNally, 51, disabled electrician, lived nearby and heard the crash. He ran to the scene and pulled on the front passenger door of the burning car, but it would open only a few inches. McNally then extended his upper body through the window opening of that door and pulled on Wells but lost his grip. With flames entering the passenger compartment from the front, Wells moved her legs to the back-seat area. McNally withdrew from the car but then re-entered, through the window opening of the rear passenger-side door. He grasped Wells by the ankles, pulled her through the window, and then set her on the ground and extinguished flames on her. The car, which was demolished, was shortly engulfed by flames. Wells required hospitalization for treatment of extensive injuries, including severe burns. McNally recovered from minor burns to his wrists.
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Royal Palm Beach, Florida
Steven David Pippin rescued Bruce E. Barkdoll from assault, Royal Palm Beach, Florida, May 27, 2013. Responding to the scene of an automobile accident, Barkdoll, 55, a police officer, learned that the driver had fled on foot. Another motorist, Pippin, 20, trade school student, had followed the driver several hundred feet onto the grounds of a nursery and directed Barkdoll to him. The driver, a large, muscular man, had by then removed his outer attire and was thrashing about in pooled water on the ground. Recognizing that the driver was exhibiting signs of excited delirium, Barkdoll approached him in a calm manner, but the man rose, lunged at Barkdoll, and took him to the ground. The assailant struck Barkdoll and removed and discarded his radio and telephone, depriving him of his means of communication, and he pulled and tugged at Barkdoll’s holster, which held a fully loaded service weapon. Witnessing the attack, Pippin approached and jumped on the assailant. He held down one of the assailant’s arms as Barkdoll worked to secure him, and he retrieved Barkdoll’s radio, enabling Barkdoll to call for back up. The assailant continued to struggle against the men and maintained his resistance as other responding officers secured him with handcuffs and a leg restraint. Barkdoll suffered scrapes and bruises, from which he recovered.
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North Wilkesboro, North Carolina
Mitchell L. McLean died after attempting to save Maryanne Galway and others from drowning, Sunset Beach, North Carolina, July 3, 2013. While swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, Galway, 55, and several others were caught by a strong rip current that took them farther from shore. Her husband supported her as he shouted for help. In another party, McLean, 54, chief district court judge, had just arrived at the beach. He and his wife joined others in entering the surf in rescue attempts, but his wife returned to shore after struggling against the high waves. Galway was returned to the beach by one of the rescuers as others retrieved her husband and McLean, who had been overcome by conditions. Unconscious, all three were taken to the hospital, where Galway and McLean were pronounced dead. Galway’s husband recovered.
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Nashua, New Hampshire
Paul F. Frontiero III died rescuing Kathryn A. Libby from assault, Nashua, New Hampshire, October 9, 2011. At night, a man armed with a knife exited an automobile that stopped in front of the house where Libby, 29, and others lived. Libby and others were outside the house when the man confronted them in a menacing fashion, and he stabbed Libby repeatedly when she intervened between him and one of her housemates. Another housemate, Frontiero, 27, emergency medical technician, immediately responded from the house, rushed the assailant, and fought against him, freeing Libby. The assailant stabbed Frontiero repeatedly about the arms and torso before fleeing in the car. Frontiero collapsed to the ground, mortally wounded. Libby required hospital treatment for her wounds, from which she recovered.
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Westlock, Alberta
Dion C. LeFebvre rescued Faith E. M. Kondusky-Sennett from burning, Wandering River, Alberta, April 27, 2012. Faith, 11, was trapped in the back seat of a pickup truck after it collided head on with another vehicle. A motorist, LeFebvre, 36, moving company operator, witnessed the accident and stopped at the scene, as did others. After tending to the occupants of the other vehicle, LeFebvre approached the pickup, which had caught fire in its engine area. Despite flames that had entered the passenger compartment and were rapidly progressing, LeFebvre forced open the back door on the passenger side. He reached over Faith, who was unconscious, and untangled her from her safety belt. With flames beginning to issue into the back-seat area from under the front seats, Lefebvre freed Faith’s feet and then, cradling her, removed her from the vehicle and carried her to safety. She was taken to the hospital but later died of her injuries. Six other occupants of the vehicles also died in the accident.
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Spencer, Ohio
Shane M. Robinson saved Alyssa M. Hovinetz and Jeffrey W. Burgos II from burning, Huntington Township, Ohio, September 2, 2013. Hovinetz, 24, and Burgos, 23, were occupants of a sedan that left the road, struck a concrete culvert, and broke into flames at its front end. Incapacitated, they were trapped in the vehicle, in the front passenger seat. Traveling on the same road, Robinson, 23, trash collector, came upon the scene and stopped. He immediately ran to the burning car and attempted to open its driver’s door and then break out its window but was unsuccessful. Robinson went to the front passenger door, removed pieces of broken glass from that window, and bent the top of the door frame down to enlarge the opening. Despite flames entering the passenger compartment from the dashboard, he reached into the vehicle, grasped Hovinetz, who was unconscious, and, cradling her, pulled her out and carried her to safety. Robinson ran back to the car, reached inside again despite growing flames there, and pulled Burgos out. As Burgos outweighed him, Robinson lowered Burgos to the ground, grasped him about the arms, and dragged him to safety, flames soon growing to engulf the vehicle. Hovinetz and Burgos were hospitalized for treatment of extensive injuries, but they were not burned.
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DANNY NASH, deceased
Lafayette, Tennessee
Danny Nash died attempting to save Robert E. and Barbara A. Solomon and Willa A. Crockarell from burning, Lafayette, Tennessee, March 3, 2013. Robert, 83, and his wife, Barbara, 72, and her sister, Crockarell, 66, were inside their one-story home after fire erupted in a room at the back of the structure. Their neighbor, Nash, 55, assistant supervisor, was returning home and saw the flames. After attempting to enter the house through its front door, which was locked, Nash tried a side door, but it too was locked. He forced it open and entered. From outside the house, he was seen guiding Barbara and Robert toward the front door and then proceeding to the end of the house that contained the bedrooms. Flames grew quickly. Firefighters responded shortly and found Robert and Barbara on the floor of the living room near the front door. They removed them from the house, but attempts to revive them were unsuccessful. Deteriorating conditions delayed the search for Crockarell and Nash, whose bodies were found in the basement of the structure, after it had collapsed. Nash had died of smoke inhalation.
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Comox, British Columbia
Lee Kenneth Murray saved Betty-Lou H. Nadelko from drowning, Courtenay, British Columbia, July 23, 2013. While tubing, Nadelko, 60, was thrown into the swift water of the Puntledge River. A loose tow rope from the tube became wrapped around her and caught in rocks on the bed of the river, keeping her submerged. In another party at the scene, Murray, 44, commercial fisherman, saw the accident. When Nadelko did not surface, he swam across the river to the point at which he last saw her. Diving, he located her and then traced her body and the extended rope to where it was snagged. He dislodged the rope, freeing Nadelko, and took her to the surface. Positioning Nadelko atop him, Murray floated downstream to a beach, where a man helped him remove her from the water. Nadelko required hospitalization for treatment of ill effects, and she recovered.
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Tampa, Florida
Charles T. Carbonell, Sr., saved Denise C. Guzman from burning, Lakeland, Florida, November 14, 2011. Guzman, 41, was trapped in her sport utility vehicle after an accident in which the vehicle rolled off the highway and came to rest upside down in a stretch of wetland. Fire erupted in the engine compartment and spread to the exposed underside of the vehicle. Guzman struck at a window and shouted for help. Carbonell, 54, furniture restorer, had been traveling behind Guzman and witnessed the accident. Stopping at the scene, he ran to the burning vehicle, his footing compromised by the wetland mud. Carbonell pulled on the driver’s door, which was unlocked, but the mud prevented him from opening it appreciably. After some struggle, he succeeded in opening the door wider. He then leaned head first into the vehicle despite flames spreading from the front of the undercarriage toward the back; flames were also visible inside the vehicle, on the dashboard. Carbonell grasped Guzman and pulled her out of the vehicle. He stood her on the ground, but as her feet sank partway into the mud, he picked her up and carried her back to the highway. Neither was injured.
(Note: Mr. Carbonell was awarded his first Carnegie Medal in 2007, in recognition of his rescuing a Tampa, Fla., police officer who was under assault by the man he was attempting to arrest. The rescue occurred February 12, 2007.)
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Laguna Niguel, California
Richard Irvin Moore rescued Jana Lutteropp from a shark attack, Wailea, Hawaii, August 14, 2013. Lutteropp, 20, was snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean at a point about 150 feet from shore when a shark, thought by authorities to be a tiger shark about 12 feet long, attacked her, severing her right arm near the shoulder. From the beach, Moore, 57, high school teacher, heard Lutteropp scream and saw that she was in bloodied water. He ran into the water and then swam out to her. Securing a hold of her, Moore backstroked toward shore and then in wadable water handed her over to another man, who returned her to the beach. Moore and others then carried Lutteropp to an access road, from which she was taken to the hospital. She died there a week later of effects of her injury.
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Dallas, Georgia
Hiram, Georgia
Tyler P. Feagan and Dillon Humphries saved Melvin Todd and Tatiana Nelthrope from drowning, Panama City Beach, Florida, April 10, 2013. Friends Todd, 28, and Nelthrope were swimming in the Gulf of Mexico when they were taken into deeper water farther from the beach by a strong current. Their efforts to swim against the current fruitless, they called for help at a point about 200 feet from shore. Friends Feagan, 18, and Humphries, 17, high school students, were in wadable water atop a sandbar about halfway between the victims and the beach in that vicinity. They swam to Todd and Nelthrope. Feagan grasped Todd, who had submerged, and pulled him to the surface of the water, and then he held to Todd as he swam, with difficulty, toward shore. Feagan submerged en route but then separated himself from Todd and calmed him before proceeding. Humphries, meanwhile, had Nelthrope hold to his shoulders, and, with her on his back, he swam out of the current and slowly made his way to wadable water at shore. Humphries then joined Feagan to help with Todd, as did a lifeguard who responded with a rescue device. Neither Todd nor Nelthrope was injured. Feagan and Humphries were tired after the rescue, but they recovered.
85731-9692 / 85732-9693
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Front Royal, Virginia
Bruce Edward Smoot saved Jeffrey L. and Catherine B. Laudermilk from burning, Front Royal, Virginia, February 5, 2012. Jeffrey, 58, was in a second-floor bedroom of his and his wife’s two-story duplex after flames erupted in that room. Disabled, he attempted to flee the room but collapsed in the doorway. His wife, Catherine, 59, was alerted to the fire by a smoke detector and tried without success to move him. A neighbor, Smoot, 43, saw flames issuing from a second-floor window of the house. He ran to the front door and forced his way into the living room, finding that smoke there severely restricted visibility. Hearing Catherine yelling on the second floor, Smoot ascended the stairs and found Jeffrey in the bedroom doorway. He picked Jeffrey up, started down the stairs with him, and then handed him over to a police officer who was responding. As the officer took Jeffrey outside to safety, Smoot returned to the second floor and, despite having no visibility in the dense smoke, found Catherine in a room opposite the burning one. He picked her up, returned to the stairway, and carried her down to the first floor and outside to safety. Jeffrey required hospitalization for treatment of smoke inhalation, and he recovered. Catherine and Smoot were treated at the scene for minor ill effect, and they too recovered.
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Bellmore, New York
John M. Curley, Sr., rescued Evelyn Ross from burning, Bellmore, New York, November 12, 2012. Ross, 92, was in her bedroom, which was on the main floor of her raised-ranch house, after fire broke out in the living quarters and spread. Blocked by flames from reaching her inside the house, her son ran to a point outside her bedroom window, the base of which was about 12 feet off the driveway. To reach the window, he placed a six-foot-high stepladder atop a five-foot-high metal cabinet that he moved from the garage, but, without help, he was unable to scale the cabinet and ladder. Off duty, Curley, 43, a professional firefighter for another municipality, was alerted to the fire by the local fire department, of which he was a volunteer member. Responding directly to the scene without protective gear, equipment, or backup, he climbed atop the cabinet and ladder, the top of which fell just short of the window. He broke out the window glass, allowing some of the smoke to clear, and saw Ross lying unconscious on the floor. He climbed through the window, crawled about five feet to her, and lifted her to the window, flames by then breaching the room through its doorway. After extending Ross partially through the window, Curley climbed out, positioned himself on the ladder, and removed Ross the rest of the way. He descended the ladder with her, passing her down to other responders who had arrived by then, and then jumped from the cabinet to safety. Flames shortly filled the bedroom and ultimately destroyed the house. Ross was hospitalized for treatment of her injuries, including smoke inhalation and burns. Curley received hospital treatment for minor burns and a laceration. He recovered.
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