Carnegie Medals awarded to 22
for extraordinary acts of heroism

PITTSBURGH, PA, MAY 2, 2002—In its second award announcement of 2002, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 22 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 44 the number of persons who have been recognized in 2002 to date, and to 8,602 the total number honored by the Commission since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission President Mark Laskow stated that each of the awardees or their survivors will receive also a grant of $3,500. Throughout the 98 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $25.5 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.

The awardees are:

Kip D. Teal Spartanburg, S.C.
Marshall J. Gossett Wellford, S.C.
Joseph S. Ah-Hing Long Beach, Calif.
Michael Hebert Port Neches, Texas
Jerome Lee Hamilton, Ill.
Richard John Schwindt St. Thomas, Ont.
Joseph Clark Brock Martinsville, Va.
Dennis Lorenzo Carter Martinsville, Va.
Horacio G. Pino Cordova, Tenn.
David Matthew Elton, deceased Calgary, Alta.
Brodie MacDonald, deceased Calgary, Alta.
Jordan Daniel Nixon Calgary, Alta.
Donald James Sack Shelter Cove, Calif.
Paul Gary Farias, deceased Corpus Christi, Texas
Jeffrey J. Dudarenke Fond du Lac, Wisc.
Michael L. Griffiths Van Dyne, Wisc.
Daniel R. Sitzberger Oshkosh, Wisc.
Garrett Raymond Cuppels Miami Beach, Fla.
James D. Van Evera Encinitas, Calif.
David J. Klavoon, deceased Murrells Inlet, S.C.
Robert B. Keane Rome, N.Y.
David M. Cirasuolo New York Mills, 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 www.carnegiehero.org


Kip D. Teal
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Marshall J. Gossett
Wellford, South Carolina
Kip D. Teal and Marshall J. Gossett saved Lewis D. Cohen from being struck by a train, Lyman, South Carolina, December 22, 2000. Before daybreak, Cohen remained in the driver’s seat of a car that had left the highway then went down an embankment and came to rest on a railroad track, on which a freight train was approaching at 40 m.p.h. Teal, 32, police officer, who was nearby, saw the accident. He ran to the car, opened the driver’s door, and urged Cohen to exit. Gossett, 35, warehouse manager, also witnessed the accident from nearby and responded to the car. Although neither Teal nor Gossett could see the approaching train, as it was beyond a curve in the track about 300 feet away, they heard its horn. Teal and Gossett reached inside the car, grasped Cohen, and pulled him out, the train rounding the curve and coming into view. Teal and Gossett started to move away from the car with Cohen when the train, then in emergency braking, arrived and struck the car, knocking it from the track and destroying it. Teal, Gossett, and Cohen were knocked to the ground beside the track. Teal sustained bruises on a leg, and Gossett sustained bruising that required hospital treatment. They recovered.
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Joseph S. Ah-Hing
Long Beach, California
Joseph S. Ah-Hing rescued Beverly A. Slaney from assault, Long Beach, California, June 25, 2001. Ms. Slaney, 39, was driving a city bus on a residential street at night when the sole passenger approached her and struck her in the face. Ms. Slaney stopped the bus and struggled against the assailant, who had produced a knife and began to stab her. Ms. Slaney shouted for help, attracting the attention of Ah-Hing, 44, machine operator, who lived nearby. Ah-Hing responded to the bus doors, which Ms. Slaney opened, and saw that the assailant was armed with a knife. Ah-Hing stepped onto the bus, grasped the assailant, and threw him down the bus steps to the street. The assailant dropped the knife to the pavement. Other neighbors arrived and helped to restrain the assailant until police responded shortly and arrested him. Ms. Slaney required hospital treatment for multiple stab wounds, to her arm, face, and head.
75467-8583
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Michael Hebert
Port Neches, Texas
Michael Hebert helped to save Ryan J. Dispenza from drowning, Crystal Beach, Texas, March 19, 2001. On an inflatable raft in the Gulf of Mexico, Ryan, 12, was carried farther from the beach and could not return. His father attempted to rescue him, but the raft was drifting seaward faster than the father could swim. On vacation at a beach house nearby, Hebert, 37, police officer, saw the situation. He immediately donned an available wet suit, although it was ill fitting, and entered the water with a surfboard. Hebert paddled toward the raft, which continued to drift out, and after about 20 minutes reached it at a point about three-fourths of a mile from shore. Hebert climbed onto the raft to escape the chill of the 63-degree water and, nearly exhausted, rested for several minutes. He then attempted to paddle the raft back to the beach but made no progress against a 20-m.p.h. wind blowing from shore. The raft continued to drift out. It was located at least two miles from shore by a helicopter and a utility boat that were dispatched by the Coast Guard. Fifty minutes after Hebert had entered the water, he and Ryan were pulled aboard the boat and treated for hypothermia. They were taken to the Coast Guard station, from which they were transferred to the hospital for further treatment. They recovered.
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Jerome Lee
Hamilton, Illinois
Jerome Lee saved Elizabeth A. Harris from drowning, Hamilton, Illinois, July 1, 2001. Ms. Harris, 35, struggled to stay afloat in the Mississippi River after entering the water for her daughter, who had fallen into the river from a boat launch. Both were carried away by the swift current, the daughter to a point from which she was rescued by others and Ms. Harris to a point about 150 feet from the bank. Alerted to the situation, Lee, 25, electrician, responded to the scene. He immediately entered the river and swam out to Ms. Harris, then grasped her and started to swim, against the current, back to the bank. The current carried them farther downstream, and rough water swamped them. As Lee neared the bank, two men waded out to meet them and took Ms. Harris from the river, Lee then exiting on his own. Ms. Harris and her daughter required hospital treatment for effects of their ordeal. Lee was winded and had cramping in his legs. He was examined at the scene, and he recovered a few hours later.
75471-8585
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Richard John Schwindt
St. Thomas, Ontario
Richard John Schwindt rescued Jason E. Walker from burning, St. Thomas, Ontario, November 20, 2000. Jason, 4, remained in the living room of his family’s one-story house after fire broke out in a bedroom and filled the house with dense smoke. Schwindt, 33, factory worker, was approaching the house for a visit when he saw that it was on fire. Learning that children remained inside the house, Schwindt broke out a window in the enclosed front porch and climbed through it. Despite the intense heat inside and visibility limited by the smoke, Schwindt moved about the house, crouching, in search of the children until he encountered Jason in the living room. He picked Jason up and returned to the front porch, where he delivered Jason to safety through the window. Schwindt also exited the house. Jason was hospitalized for treatment of severe injuries sustained in the fire, and he recovered. Schwindt sustained smoke inhalation and a minor burn to an arm, from which he recovered.
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Joseph Clark Brock
Martinsville, Virginia
Dennis Lorenzo Carter
Martinsville, Virginia
Joseph Clark Brock and Dennis Lorenzo Carter saved Elmer D. Deal from burning, Martinsville, Virginia, December 28, 2000. Deal, 79, remained in the living room of his second-floor apartment, in a two-story commercial building, after fire broke out on the first floor at night and filled the building with smoke. Unable to walk unaided, he broke out a living room window and called for help. Driving nearby, Brock, 21, machine operator, saw smoke issuing from the building, then saw Deal leaning out the window. After reporting the fire, Brock responded to an outside door that opened to Deal’s apartment. Despite dense smoke that extended almost to the floor, he entered the apartment repeatedly, crawling, before having to retreat for air. He crawled inside a final time and reached Deal. Riding in a car nearby, Dennis, 12, student, also had seen smoke issuing from the building and Deal leaning out the window. He too responded to Deal’s apartment door and entered the apartment, crawling, before having to retreat for air. He crawled inside again and reached Deal. As flames spread quickly in the building, Brock and Dennis took Deal through the apartment and outside to safety. The building was destroyed by the fire. Deal required hospitalization for treatment of smoke inhalation. Brock was given oxygen at the scene for having inhaled smoke, and Dennis also was treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation. They recovered.
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Horacio G. Pino
Cordova, Tennessee
Horacio G. Pino saved Kayla McDaniel from burning, Memphis, Tennessee, April 19, 2001. At night, Kayla, 9, lay unconscious in a bedroom in one end of her family’s mobile home after fire broke out in the laundry room at the opposite end. Pino, 34, deputy sheriff, responded to the scene. He and two other officers entered the mobile home for Kayla but were forced out by intense heat and dense smoke. Pino re-entered the structure and searched a bedroom and bathroom before finding Kayla in the other bedroom. Nearly overcome by the smoke, Pino grasped Kayla and dragged her out of the bedroom, then through a hall to the front door, where he collapsed. The other officers removed Pino and Kayla from the doorway and took them to safety. Kayla was hospitalized three days for treatment of smoke inhalation. Pino also was treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation, and he recovered.
75253-8589
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David Matthew Elton, deceased
Calgary, Alberta
Brodie MacDonald, deceased
Calgary, Alberta
Jordan Daniel Nixon
Calgary, Alberta
David Matthew Elton and Brodie MacDonald died helping attempt to save Barbara D. Clement from drowning, and Jordan Daniel Nixon helped attempt to save Ms. Clement, David, and Brodie from drowning, Shelter Cove, California, March 25, 2000. Ms. Clement, 45, who was chaperoning a group of high school students hiking a remote trail along a beach of the Pacific Ocean, was struck by a wave, knocked from her feet, and carried toward the surf by the very swift backwash. Two of the students, David and Brodie, both 17, immediately dropped their backpacks and ran to Ms. Clement, who was struggling to regain her footing. David and Brodie were last seen on either side of Ms. Clement when a large wave broke over them and took them into the surf. Another of the students, Jordan, 17, and another of the chaperones ran toward them, but they too were overtaken by the backwash and were swept into the ocean and carried seaward by a strong current. Fishing boats responded to the scene and removed Jordan, Ms. Clement, and the other chaperone from the 48-degree water, one of the fishermen single-handedly having to penetrate deeply the area of 12-foot breakers for the other chaperone, who was nearer shore. Jordan was taken to the hospital, where he was detained overnight for treatment of having nearly drowned and hypothermia. He recovered. Ms. Clement drowned, but the other chaperone recovered, also after hospital treatment. The bodies of David and Brodie were recovered from the surf three and four days later, respectively. They too had drowned.
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Donald James Sack
Shelter Cove, California
Donald James Sack saved Martin Poirier from drowning, Shelter Cove, California, March 25, 2000. Poirier, 37, was swept into the Pacific Ocean by the strong backwash of a breaking wave as he attempted to save members of his hiking group who also were swept into the ocean. In his 18-foot boat on the ocean about six miles away, Sack, 46, fisherman, learned of the situation by radio and responded to the scene. Finding one of the victims beyond the breakers, Sack secured her and took her to another boat that had responded. Returning to the scene to look for other victims, Sack saw Poirier at a point closer to shore, or well into the 12-foot breakers. Sack took his boat into the breakers and maneuvered it to a point near Poirier. After shouting to get Poirier’s attention, Sack threw him a line as he turned his boat to face the breakers. Poirier grasped the rope and held it as Sack towed him from the breakers. Sack then positioned Poirier against the boat and secured him by an arm as he single-handedly took the boat to calmer waters. Another fisherman boarded the boat and helped Sack pull Poirier from the 48-degree water. Sack took Poirier to shore, from where Poirier was taken to the hospital. He was detained overnight for treatment of having nearly drowned and hypothermia, and he recovered. Sack twisted his right knee, but he too recovered. Three members of Poirier’s hiking group drowned.
75085-8593
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Paul Gary Farias, deceased
Corpus Christi, Texas
Paul Gary Farias died saving Juan A. Clark from drowning, Corpus Christi, Texas, June 9, 2001. Juan, 10, was swimming in the Gulf of Mexico when he found himself in water beyond his depth. He struggled to stay afloat, submerging repeatedly. Members of his party, including Farias, 33, nurse, were in wadable water nearby. After being alerted to Juan’s difficulty, Farias immediately swam to him, but he too struggled in the deeper water. Farias managed to throw Juan in the direction of the beach, and Juan returned to shore on his own. Farias submerged. He was found by another swimmer some minutes later and was returned to the beach, then taken to the hospital, but efforts to revive him were not successful. He had drowned.
75394-8594
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Jeffrey J. Dudarenke
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Michael L. Griffiths
Van Dyne, Wisconsin
Daniel R. Sitzberger
Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Jeffrey J. Dudarenke, Michael L. Griffiths, and Daniel R. Sitzberger saved David M. Wirtz and four other men from drowning, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, September 21, 2000. Wirtz, 35, and four other men were ejected from a moving, 42-foot powerboat into the cold water of Lake Winnebago at a point about 1.5 miles from the closest shore. The boat continued, out of control at about 50 m.p.h., in circles around them. Dudarenke, 36, research and development engine technician; Griffiths, 32, fuel systems engineering technician, and Sitzberger, 33, glass company operator, were in Sitzberger’s 35-foot powerboat about a half-mile away and witnessed the accident. They immediately responded toward the scene and, as the out-of-control boat continued its course, took their boat into the circle to approach the victims. Dudarenke and Sitzberger hauled each victim aboard while Griffiths maneuvered the boat to avoid its being struck by the runaway one, which passed as close as 15 feet. Once all five victims were aboard, Dudarenke, Griffiths, and Sitzberger returned their boat to shore, where the victims were given medical treatment for multiple bruises. They recovered. The runaway boat continued to circle until its course took it toward shore, where it was partially disabled by striking the lake bottom. Its speed slowed, the boat was stopped and returned to shore by officers of the sheriff’s department.
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Garrett Raymond Cuppels
Miami Beach, Florida
Garrett Raymond Cuppels attempted to save Matthew Beaufort from drowning, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 6, 2000. Beaufort dropped from a bridge spanning the Schuylkill River and struggled to stay afloat in the 10-foot-deep, murky water. On the far bank of the river, Cuppels, 25, medical school student, concluded that Beaufort could not swim and that assembled emergency personnel were not then effecting a rescue. Cuppels made his way to the river, discarding items of attire, then entered the water and swam about 350 feet to where Beaufort, who had submerged by then, was last seen. Cuppels dived and found Beaufort lying on the bottom of the river. He pulled him to the surface, then, finding him unconscious and not breathing, applied mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while he swam toward the other bank, which was closer, towing Beaufort. A man entered the water from that bank, swam to them, and helped briefly. At a point about 30 feet from the bank, Cuppels stood in wadable water and pulled Beaufort the rest of the way in. Emergency personnel attempted to revive Beaufort and took him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead of drowning. Cuppels was winded after the rescue and sustained minor bruising; he recovered.
75361-8598
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James D. Van Evera
Encinitas, California
James D. Van Evera saved Isidora and Prodencio Ramirez from drowning, Carlsbad, California, March 17, 2001. Isidora, 12, and her brother Prodencio, 9, were wading in the Pacific Ocean when they were caught by a strong seaward current that swept them around the tip of a jetty at the scene. Van Evera, 46, delivery driver, was fishing from a parallel jetty about 120 feet away when he saw the children in the water and heard people on the other jetty calling for help. He entered the water, swam across the channel between the two jetties, and reached Isidora, who was about 45 feet from the tip of the nearer jetty. Establishing a hold on her, he swam her to that jetty, where a man assisted her from the water. Van Evera then turned and swam out to Prodencio, who was about 60 feet from the jetty. He grasped Prodencio by the arm and, with difficulty against the current, swam back to the jetty, where the other man assisted in getting Prodencio from the water. Van Evera sustained small cuts to his legs but was otherwise uninjured, as was Isidora. Prodencio initially had trouble breathing and was given oxygen at the scene. He was later treated at a hospital and released.
75202-8599
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David J. Klavoon, deceased
Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
David J. Klavoon died helping attempt to save Shirley R. Mann from suffocation, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, May 28, 2001. Ms. Mann, 72, was confined to a bed in a bedroom of her one-story house when fire broke out in the sunroom at the back of the house. A neighbor, Klavoon, 67, retired oil refinery operator, was alerted to the fire and responded to the scene with another male neighbor. They entered the house through the front door and, with Ms. Mann’s nurse, proceeded through a hall to Ms. Mann’s bedroom. With fire conditions worsening, Ms. Mann was removed from her bed and dragged into the hall. A flashover occurred, causing conditions to be intolerable and sending the nurse and the other neighbor to safety through a bedroom window. Firefighters arrived shortly and removed Ms. Mann from the hall. Klavoon was found in an adjoining bedroom. Both died of smoke inhalation.
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Robert B. Keane
Rome, New York
David M. Cirasuolo
New York Mills, New York
Robert B. Keane and David M. Cirasuolo saved Jacki R. Metz and four others from drowning, Rome, New York, June 28, 2001. Ms. Metz, 28, and four others, including two children, were aboard a 17-foot boat on Lake Delta when the boat’s motor failed. Despite the party’s efforts to restart the motor and to paddle to safety, the boat was drawn by the current toward the spillway of a dam. Water flowed over the spillway, which had a 60-foot drop to the river below. In his 18-foot boat about a quarter-mile away, Keane, 27, and his friend, Cirasuolo, 34, saw the distressed boat and immediately responded to the scene. As they approached, Ms. Metz and the others of her party entered the lake, and, from a point near the dam, Keane and Cirasuolo pulled the children from the water into their boat. Keane and Cirasuolo took their boat to two of the adults who were at the distressed vessel, which by then was lodged against the spillway. As Keane and Cirasuolo secured one of the adults, their boat struck the distressed one, but did not dislodge it, and itself became immobilized, temporarily, against the spillway. Freeing their boat, Keane and Cirasuolo positioned it for the rescue of the other adult, and again it became immobilized against the spillway. Another boat responded about then, and the third adult from Ms. Metz’s party, who had remained in the water, swam a line from Keane’s boat to it. That boat towed Keane’s from the spillway to open water, after which Keane and Cirasuolo took it, all victims aboard, to safety.
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