Carnegie Medals awarded to 19
for extraordinary acts of heroism

PITTSBURGH, PA, MARCH 2, 2000—In its first award announcement of 2000, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 19 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. Two of the awardees died in the performance of their heroic acts.

The heroes announced today bring to 8,360 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 $3,500. Throughout the 96 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $24 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.

The awardees are:

Richard L. Pealatere Yucca Valley, Calif.
Donald Turner Columbus, Ohio
Raymond M. Ross Gray, La.
Stanton Thompson Higginsville, Mo.
Todd Williams Port Burwell, Ont.
Pao NuPaul Fang Sacramento, Calif.
Andre Dupree Corbitt, deceased Pleasantville, N.J.
Dominic P. McClinton Germantown, Md.
Timothy V. Smith Florence, Ore.
Larry Eugene Loveless Milford, Ohio
Roger M. Chandler Greensboro, N.C.
Joseph N. Sansalone Pittsgrove, N.J.
Shelly S. J. Radies Kindersley, Sask.
Kieth M. Heck Glidden, Sask.
Ronald J. Heck Winfield, B.C.
James Edward Duncan, deceased Ashland, Ky.
John Earl Florence, S.C.
Claude Bergeron Châteauguay, Que.
Glen Edward Nikkel Surrey, B.C.

Resumes of the acts follow. To nominate someone for the CARNEGIE MEDAL, write the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, 436 Seventh Avenue, Suite 1101, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, or call 1-800-447-8900 (toll free). Fuller information on the CARNEGIE MEDAL and the history of the CARNEGIE HERO FUND COMMISSION can be found at www.carnegiehero.org


Richard L. Pealatere
Yucca Valley, California
Richard L. Pealatere rescued Nathan A. Gonyer from burning, Yucca Valley, California, September 8, 1998. Nathan, 5, was in the rear of a van driven by his mother when fire erupted in the engine, then spread to the interior of the van. The mother escaped with another child but could not reach Nathan. Driving nearby, Pealatere, 52, carpenter, saw the van on fire and responded, as did others. Learning that Nathan remained inside the smoke-filled van, Pealatere and several other men attempted to gain entry to the vehicle through its side and back doors, but both sets of doors were locked. The men succeeded in opening the doors but were thwarted in initial attempts to enter the van by the dense smoke and intense heat inside. Pealatere then crawled through the back doors into the van, located Nathan behind the driver’s seat, and exited the van with him. Nathan was hospitalized for treatment of severe burns and died about three months later. Pealatere sustained burns to both hands, and he recovered.
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Donald Turner
Columbus, Ohio
Donald Turner saved Mildred Reynolds from burning, Columbus, Ohio, November 4, 1998. Ms. Reynolds, 77, was in her second-floor apartment after fire broke out in the unit’s bathroom and filled the apartment with dense smoke. Turner, 42, maintenance supervisor for the apartment complex, was alerted to the fire. He responded to the door of Ms. Reynolds’s apartment and opened it with a passkey; dense smoke poured out. Having ascertained that Ms. Reynolds was inside the apartment, Turner entered it twice, once with a jacket held to his face, but he was forced out by smoke each time. Turner entered the apartment a third time and, crawling, penetrated the living room to where he found Ms. Reynolds, who was standing in the opposite end of the room. Turner stood and walked Ms. Reynolds to the apartment door, from where another man took her downstairs and outside to safety, Turner following. Ms. Reynolds was taken to the hospital, where she was treated for smoke inhalation. Turner also inhaled smoke, and he recovered.
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Raymond M. Ross
Gray, Louisiana
Raymond M. Ross saved Isabella Washington from burning, Gray, Louisiana, October 5, 1998. Semiconscious and with her legs pinned, Ms. Washington, 51, was in the driver’s seat of an automobile that, in a highway accident, left the roadway and caught fire on its underside. Another motorist, Ross, 52, truck driver, witnessed the accident and responded to the scene. After turning off the car’s ignition and aiding Ms. Washington’s passenger to safety, Ross returned to the car, re-entered it, and released Ms. Washington’s safety belt. Growing flames from the underside of the car forced him away momentarily. After Ross and another man fought the flames with fire extinguishers, Ross re-entered the car again. Ms. Washington freed one of her legs; Ross freed the other, then pulled Ms. Washington from the car and helped move her away. An explosive rush of flame, thought to be from the fuel tank, occurred during the rescue, and flames entered the car shortly after it. Ms. Washington required hospitalization for injuries sustained in the accident.
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Stanton Thompson
Higginsville, Missouri
Stanton Thompson helped to save Gregory Kueck and Cameron W. Holsten from drowning, Concordia, Missouri, September 13, 1998. While wading in a drainage system containing runoff from heavy rain, Gregory and Cameron, both 10, were swept into a storm sewer. They were carried by the swift current about 60 feet, or to where they clung to metal reinforcement bars in the sewer’s concrete walls. They called for help. Thompson, 49, government agency executive director, was alerted and responded from nearby. He entered the open basin at the mouth of the sewer, from where he could see the boys. Firefighters arrived and entered the basin with life jackets and lines. Thompson donned a life jacket, then stepped into the sewer by passing through a grate at its mouth. The floor of the sewer was lower than that of the basin, and Thompson lost his footing in the boil caused by water dropping into the sewer. Regaining his footing in the rushing, waist-deep water, Thompson waded to the boys. Firefighters floated tethered life jackets into the sewer, and Thompson attached one of the lines to his own life jacket, then put a tethered life jacket on Gregory. With Gregory clinging to him, Thompson moved against the current to the mouth of the sewer as firefighters pulled on the lines attached to their life jackets. Firefighters then pulled Gregory out of the sewer. Thompson waded back to Cameron, who also wore a tethered life jacket, then took him to the grate, firefighters again pulling on their lines. After Cameron was pulled from the sewer, Thompson paused to regain his strength. He then struggled against the boil to the grate, firefighters pulling on him. Once free of the sewer, Thompson left the basin for ground level. Requiring hospital treatment, Gregory suffered hypothermia, and he recovered. Cameron and Thompson were cold, but they too recovered.
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Todd Williams
Port Burwell, Ontario
Todd Williams rescued Edward J. McLeod from a runaway vehicle, Guelph, Ontario, October 7, 1998. McLeod, 54, was incapacitated while driving a tractor-trailer on a busy highway. The rig veered across the lanes of the highway, then struck a concrete barrier in the median and continued forward, repeatedly striking the barrier. Williams, 32, roofer, was a passenger in a car on the same highway when the truck cut across the car’s lane of travel. Realizing that something was wrong with the truck’s driver, Williams jumped from the moving car and, in rain, ran to the passenger side of McLeod’s cab. As the truck continued out of control, albeit slowing, Williams pulled himself up to the passenger door but, while maintaining his hold on the grab handle, lost his footing and swung briefly before regaining it. Williams opened the door to find McLeod semiconscious on the floor of the cab. He entered the cab and took the rig to a stop, then attempted to revive McLeod. Taken to the hospital, McLeod had sustained a fatal heart attack.
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Pao NuPaul Fang
Sacramento, California
Pao NuPaul Fang rescued David Lee from burning, Sacramento, California, October 20, 1998. David, 2, and three of his sisters were inside their family’s ground-level apartment after fire broke out in the kitchen and filled the unit with dense smoke and intense heat. Fang, 29, probation assistant, who lived nearby, saw smoke issuing from the apartment. He reported the fire, then ran to the scene, where he could hear children crying inside the apartment. Fang opened the unit’s front door, and one of David’s sisters ran out. Still hearing crying, Fang entered the apartment. Using the doormat against his face for protection, he crawled across the living room, which adjoined and opened into the burning kitchen. Proceeding toward the sound of the crying, Fang found David in the opposite corner of the room. He grasped David, then crawled back to the front door and exited to safety. One of the other sisters had escaped on her own, and the remaining one was found shortly in the living room and removed. David and two of his sisters required hospitalization for treatment of severe burns. Fang sought medical treatment the following day for effects of having inhaled smoke, and he recovered.
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Andre Dupree Corbitt, deceased
Pleasantville, New Jersey
Dominic P. McClinton
Germantown, Maryland
Andre Dupree Corbitt died attempting to save, and Dominic P. McClinton saved, Kelly L. Thomas and a boy from drowning, Atlantic City, New Jersey, July 25, 1998. Kelly, 9, and an unidentified boy were wading in the Absecon Inlet off the Atlantic Ocean when a wave struck them, causing them to lose their footing. Carried farther from the beach toward the reaches of the inlet’s strong tidal currents, they called for help. Although he could not swim, Corbitt, 29, construction worker, entered the water from the beach and began to wade out to the children. McClinton, 29, manager, also entered the water; he swam to the boy, reaching him in wadable water, then returned him to a point closer to the beach, from which the boy waded ashore. McClinton then swam to Kelly, who was farther out. He began to tow her back to shore but changed course and headed instead to a nearby rock jetty. Others on the jetty aided McClinton and Kelly from the water. Corbitt, meanwhile, struggled in deeper water as he was carried farther from shore. Efforts to rescue him failed, and he submerged. His body was located in the inlet three days later; he had drowned.
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Timothy V. Smith
Florence, Oregon
Timothy V. Smith helped to rescue Marion E. Petro from burning, Florence, Oregon, September 12, 1998. Ms. Petro, 71, was the passenger of a 35-foot motorhome that, at night, was involved in a head-on collision with an automobile, the occupants of which were killed. In the accident, the car slid beneath the motorhome, and flames broke out immediately on the wreckage and spread and grew quickly. Another motorist, Smith, 55, retired machinist, witnessed the accident. He approached the front of the motorhome, where he saw Ms. Petro in the area of the driver’s seat. He shouted at her to jump from the vehicle, through its windshield opening. Ms. Petro did so, dropping into flames at the front of the motorhome where she then lay on her back on the pavement. Smith approached the motorhome, and, exposing himself to the flames, grasped Ms. Petro and pulled her out of the fire. He and others put out flames on Ms. Petro’s attire, then moved her away from the motorhome, which was shortly engulfed by flames and destroyed. Ms. Petro sustained severe burns and other injury, for which she required hospitalization. Smith also required hospital treatment, for first- and second-degree burns to his arms and face.
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Larry Eugene Loveless
Milford, Ohio
Larry Eugene Loveless saved Daniel Pellegrino from burning, Lebanon, Ohio, October 30, 1998. Daniel, 8, was in a second-floor bedroom of his family’s two-story townhouse apartment after fire broke out in that room and filled the floor with dense smoke. On duty, Loveless, 27, police officer, responded to the scene, where he learned that Daniel was still inside the burning structure. Loveless entered the townhouse, shouting for Daniel, then started to ascend the stairs. Halfway up, he was forced to his hands and knees by the dense smoke, which precluded visibility. At the top of the stairs, Loveless heard Daniel coughing. He crawled to the burning bedroom and, his feet against the doorframe to keep himself oriented, stretched into the room. Using his flashlight, Loveless saw Daniel in the bedroom, then grasped him, took him to the floor, and crawled from the room with him. Loveless crawled to the stairway with Daniel, then retraced his course downstairs and outside to safety. Daniel required hospital treatment for smoke inhalation, as did Loveless, who was detained overnight. He recovered.
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Roger M. Chandler
Greensboro, North Carolina
Roger M. Chandler saved Shane D., Allyssa M., and David E. Carnes from burning, Greensboro, North Carolina, October 30, 1998. Siblings Shane, 4; Allyssa, 3, and David, 1, were inside a 15-foot travel trailer, parked at the residence of a family friend, when fire erupted from the trailer’s malfunctioning gas heater. Chandler, 27, sales clerk, who also lived at the residence, was alerted to the fire by the children’s mother, and he immediately responded to the scene. Opening the door to dense smoke, which precluded visibility, Chandler entered the trailer, despite flames spreading to the trailer’s ceiling and walls. Chandler found Shane on a bed next to the door. He picked him up and took him outside, then returned to the inside of the trailer and found Allyssa, who also was on the bed. He exited the trailer with her, then re-entered it again, although flames were overhead, on the ceiling. He found David on the far end of the bed, then exited with him moments before the trailer was engulfed by flames.
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Joseph N. Sansalone
Pittsgrove, New Jersey
Joseph N. Sansalone rescued William F. Mufalli III from burning, Franklinville, New Jersey, December 19, 1998. Mufalli, 21, was unconscious in the driver’s seat of his car after a highway accident in which the car struck a utility pole and caught fire. Flames grew quickly and spread, including to the interior of the car. Sansalone, 36, truck driver, responded to the scene from a nearby residence. He attempted to open the driver’s door of the burning car but found it locked. Sansalone then obtained a metal sign from the roadside and struck the window of the driver’s door with it, breaking it. He reached into the car and unlocked then opened the door. Despite flames on the dashboard and back seats of the car, Sansalone extended his upper body into the vehicle, grasped Mufalli, and, after some difficulty, pulled him from the car and dragged him away. The car was shortly engulfed by flame. Mufalli was badly burned, and Sansalone’s own shirt had caught fire at some point during the rescue. Mufalli was hospitalized five months for treatment of his burns and other injuries. Sansalone also required hospital treatment, for smoke inhalation and minor burns to his forehead and fingers of both hands.
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Shelly S. J. Radies
Kindersley, Saskatchewan
Kieth M. Heck
Glidden, Saskatchewan
Ronald J. Heck
Winfield, British Columbia
Shelly S. J. Radies attempted to save Eldon D. Radies from suffocation, and Kieth M. and Ronald J. Heck saved Shelly and attempted to save Eldon, Glidden, Saskatchewan, August 22, 1998. Eldon, 25, was overcome by fumes while working on a gasoline-fueled pump in a 12-foot-deep cistern on his farm. He fell from a ladder into water more than five feet deep. His wife, Shelly, 22, teacher, saw him fall. She telephoned for help, then returned to the cistern and entered it for her husband. She descended the ladder to the water, where she secured a hold on Eldon to keep his head out of the water while they awaited help. Shelly too was overcome by fumes and fell into the water. Others from the area, including Kieth, 40, farmer and seasonal ferry operator, and his brother Ronald, 47, businessman, responded to the scene. Kieth entered the cistern and tied a rope around Shelly, then exited and helped to pull her up. The rope around her gave way, and she fell back into the water. Ronald then entered the cistern, retied the rope around Shelly, and exited, and Kieth, Ronald, and the others pulled Shelly out. Ronald entered the cistern again, tied the rope around Eldon, then, exiting, helped the others pull Eldon out in similar fashion. Shelly was revived, then she, Kieth, and Ronald were examined at the hospital, where Shelly was detained overnight. They recovered. Eldon could not be revived.
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James Edward Duncan, deceased
Ashland, Kentucky
James Edward Duncan died helping to save Randi J. Eldridge from drowning, Grayson, Kentucky, July 11, 1998. Randi, 8, fell into deep water from a rock along the bank of Grayson Lake. Her mother immediately jumped into the water after her, and they submerged. The mother’s boyfriend, Duncan, 22, mobile home installer, also entered the lake even though he could not swim. When next seen, he was holding Randi; they too submerged and resurfaced before Duncan pushed Randi toward her mother. The mother removed Randi from the lake then turned to see Duncan submerge a final time in the deep water. Others arrived and removed Duncan from the lake. He could not be revived, as he had drowned.
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John Earl
Florence, South Carolina
John Earl rescued David Soles and attempted to rescue Terry L. Johnson from assault, Florence, South Carolina, June 26, 1998. Soles, 29, and Ms. Johnson, 33, were standing in the parking lot of an apartment building when Ms. Johnson’s estranged husband arrived at the scene by car. Producing a handgun, the husband leapt from the car and opened fire on Soles and Ms. Johnson as he approached. Wounded twice, Soles sought refuge beneath a parked vehicle. Ms. Johnson was mortally wounded. In his vehicle at an intersection adjacent to the parking lot, Earl, 49, mechanic, witnessed the assault commence. He immediately ran to the scene, shouting to the assailant to stop the attack. As the assailant pulled out a knife and attempted to use it against Soles, Earl grabbed him and, after a struggle, disarmed him. Earl then used a rope to tie him up while they awaited police. Soles was hospitalized for treatment of his injuries, and the assailant was arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault.
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Claude Bergeron
Châteauguay, Quebec
Claude Bergeron rescued a woman from assault, Montreal, Quebec, May 16, 1997. When an 18-year-old woman was being beaten by her husband on the ground floor of a subway station, Bergeron, 45, municipal bus driver, entered the station and witnessed the assault. He approached the assailant and distracted him, permitting the woman to flee, but the assailant pursued her and resumed his attack on her. Bergeron, meanwhile, returned to his bus and reported the incident, then re-entered the station. He approached the assailant and again distracted him, allowing the woman to flee a second time. Producing a knife, the assailant turned on Bergeron and, during a struggle, stabbed him in the back. Bergeron fell to the floor. The assailant ran out of the station but was caught and restrained by civilians until police arrived and arrested him. Bergeron required overnight hospitalization for treatment of his stab wound, and he recovered.
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Glen Edward Nikkel
Surrey, British Columbia
Glen Edward Nikkel helped to rescue Elizabeth J. Dupre and Danielle M. J. R. Ovenden from attacking dogs, Surrey, British Columbia, December 18, 1998. Ms. Dupre, 49, was attacked by two adult pit bull dogs outside her home shortly after the dogs had attacked Ms. Ovenden, 39, as she walked nearby along the street. Traveling in their pickup truck on the street, Nikkel, 43, general contractor, and his wife had stopped at the scene to tend Ms. Ovenden. When the dogs turned on Ms. Dupre, taking her to the ground and mauling her, Nikkel removed a heavy-duty extension cord from his truck and ran across the street to her. He struck the dogs with the cord, drawing them away from Ms. Dupre. The dogs returned to Ms. Ovenden and resumed their attack on her. Nikkel ran back to Ms. Ovenden and struck one of the dogs with the cord, the other having retreated. Other passersby used their vehicles to create a moving barrier to keep the dogs from Ms. Ovenden. A police officer arrived and shot one of the dogs, felling it. The other dog fled but was later captured and destroyed. Ms. Dupre and Ms. Ovenden both required hospital treatment for numerous and severe bite wounds, which required suturing.
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