Carnegie Medals awarded to 25
for extraordinary acts of heroism
PITTSBURGH, PA, September 27, 2011 — In its third award announcement of 2011, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 25 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. Three of the awardees died in the performance of their heroic acts.
The heroes announced today bring to 65 the number of awards made to date in 2011 and to 9,477 the total number of awards since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission President Mark Laskow stated that each of the awardees or their next of kin will also receive a financial grant. Throughout the 107 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $33.7 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance. The latest awardees are:
|Joseph A. Buttaccio, Jr.||Lyons, N.Y.|
|Anna Buttaccio||Lyons, N.Y.|
|Steven J. Keller||Covington, La.|
|Christian Timmins||Covington, La.|
|Nathan N. Smith, deceased||Citrus Heights, Calif.|
|Jeffrey Lloyd Breuer||Eden Prairie, Minn.|
|Sean T. O’Connell||Mandeville, La.|
|Connelly Phelps Parker, Jr.||North Myrtle Beach, S.C.|
|Megan Elizabeth Allen||Raleigh, N.C.|
|Dionysios Agelatos, deceased||Albany, Ga.|
|Steve Fenton||Keansburg, N.J.|
|Michael T. Chura||Baldwinsville, N.Y.|
|Rickie D. McDowell, Jr.||Lincoln Park, Mich.|
|Kevin Moss||Southgate, Mich.|
|Roland Monte Blake, Jr.||Shawnee, Okla.|
|Robin Adair||Port Orchard, Wash.|
|William B. Jackson, Jr.,deceased||Hendersonville, N.C.|
|Timothy Lee Rostar||Alanson, Mich.|
|Matthew Charles Logan||Moscow, Idaho|
|Kevin Joseph Barbee||Lewiston, Idaho|
|Donald L. Galloway||Genesee, Idaho|
|Cameron C. Gilbert||Cool, Calif.|
|Allyson Powell||North Dighton, Mass.|
|Robert Hugh Flanagan||Denver, Colo.|
|George J. Flanagan||Swansea, Mass.|
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
Joseph A. Buttaccio, Jr.
Lyons, New York
Lyons, New York
Joseph A. Buttaccio, Jr., and Anna Buttaccio rescued Michael C. Cline from burning, Palmyra, New York, June 10, 2010. Cline, 30, was the driver of an automobile that, in a highway accident at night, left the roadway and came to rest down a wooded embankment, tilted toward its driver’s side. Flames broke out on the car and entered its interior. Conscious, Cline was trapped in the vehicle, unable to release his safety belt. Joseph, 47, postal clerk, and his wife, Anna, 45, business operator, drove upon the scene and stopped. Learning that the burning car was occupied, they descended to it and worked to remove its windshield. Unsuccessful in accessing Cline through the opening, they went to the window of the driver’s door and repeatedly reached inside the vehicle in attempts to free him. During one such attempt, an explosion at the car forced Joseph from it, his hair aflame. As he turned to retrieve a knife that was thrown to him, Anna reached through the window and with difficulty pulled Cline partway out. Joseph then re-entered and cut Cline’s safety belt, after which he and Anna pulled Cline from the car and to safety. Cline required extensive hospitalization for treatment of significant burns and other serious injuries. Joseph and Anna also required hospital treatment, Joseph for second-degree burns to his hands and forehead that caused him to miss a week’s work, and Anna for a second-degree burn to her left hand and breathing difficulty.
83324-9453 / 83325-9454
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Steven J. Keller
Steven J. Keller and Christian Timmins saved Rhonda W. Knickles from drowning, Mandeville, Louisiana, April 25, 2010. Knickles, 49, fell into Lake Pontchartrain after she was involved in an automobile accident on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway at a point about six miles from the closer shore. On his way to work for a municipality at the far end of the bridge, Keller, 30, police officer, came upon the scene and saw Knickles floating face down in the 14-foot-deep water at a point about 60 feet from the bridge. As the first-arriving causeway police officer placed a ladder over the side of the bridge, Keller donned the officer’s life vest and then descended the ladder and swam to Knickles. He turned her over, finding her unconscious, and supported her in 3.5-foot waves as a swift current in the lake carried them farther from the bridge. Another motorist who stopped at the scene, Timmins, 31, pilot, also donned a life vest and entered the water from the bridge. He swam to a life ring that had been thrown by the officer and took it to Keller, and together the men placed Knickles on the ring and held to it as they were carried farther away. Other causeway police officers arrived, and one of them entered the water with a flotation device and aided Knickles and her rescuers back to the causeway, where they were lifted to safety. Knickles was taken to the hospital but died of drowning the following day. Keller and Timmins were nearly exhausted after the rescue, but they recovered.
83126-9455 / 83211-9456
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Nathan N. Smith., deceased
Citrus Heights, California
Nathan N. Smith died attempting to save Noel B. Smith from drowning, McArthur, California, December 19, 2009. Brothers Noel, 39, and Nathan, 32, electrician, were with another brother on the bank of an ice-covered arm of Big Lake. When Noel’s dog broke through ice at a point about 65 feet from the bank and fell into water about 10 feet deep, Noel went after the dog, but he too broke through the ice. Nathan obtained a metal fence post from nearby and crawled across the ice toward Noel, the other brother following him. Nathan extended the post to Noel, and he grasped it and pulled. To keep Nathan from being pulled forward, the other brother held him by his ankles. The ice beneath Nathan and the other brother gave way, and they too fell into the water. With difficulty, the other brother pulled himself onto solid ice, but by then, Noel and Nathan had submerged. Rescue crews arrived shortly and removed them from the water. They were taken to the hospital but could not be revived.
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Jeffrey Lloyd Breuer
Eden Prairie, Minnesota
Jeffrey Lloyd Breuer saved Arnold M. Bellis from drowning, Saint Paul, Minnesota, May 8, 2010. Bellis, 87, remained in the driver’s seat of his car after it rolled down a boat ramp and entered the Mississippi River. The four-door sedan began to submerge at a point about 25 feet from the bank as two fishermen in a boat attempted to remove Bellis through the window of the driver’s door. Also boating in the vicinity, Breuer, 50, pilot, came upon the scene. As he closed in on the car, he saw that the window of its front passenger door was open. Breuer dived from his boat and swam to the car as it was sinking nose first. He submerged and partially entered the vehicle, head first, through the open window. Breuer reached for Bellis, grasped him about the shoulder, and pulled him out through the window as he maneuvered backward from the car. Breuer surfaced with Bellis and swam him toward the bank, one of the fishermen providing aid. Bellis was taken to the hospital, where he was detained for treatment; he recovered.
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Sean T. O’Connell
Sean T. O’Connell attempted to save Jeffrey W. Dickson from drowning, Pointe à la Hache, Louisiana, July 24, 2010. Dickson, 39, was the pilot of a seaplane that was landing on the Oak River when it overturned while decelerating. Inverted, the plane submerged to its pontoons in water about 12 feet deep. Another man in the plane was able to exit, and he surfaced. O’Connell, 38, physician’s assistant, was on a boat in the vicinity that happened upon the scene within a few minutes of the accident. On learning that Dickson was still inside the plane, O’Connell entered the river, swam to it, and submerged. Diving to the pilot’s door, he extended his upper body into the plane but did not find Dickson. He surfaced for air and then made repeated dives to enter the plane to locate him. On a last attempt, he fully entered the plane, made his way toward its rear, and found Dickson. Grasping him by the foot, O’Connell returned to the door, exited the plane with Dickson, and surfaced. He and the other man took Dickson to the boat, where O’Connell attempted to resuscitate him. The men took Dickson to a marina several miles away, and he was then taken to the hospital. He could not be revived. O’Connell sustained scratches, from which he recovered.
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Connelly Phelps Parker, Jr.
North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Megan Elizabeth Allen
Raleigh, North Carolina
Connelly Phelps Parker, Jr., and Megan Elizabeth Allen saved Richard B. Bennett from drowning, North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, August 14, 2010. Bennett, 59, was attempting to swim across a channel in Hog Inlet when he was swept by a strong tidal current out into the Atlantic Ocean. His friends alerted Parker, 52, builder’s superintendent, who was nearby, having been fishing from his 14-foot, fiberglass skiff in inland waters. Although Parker was not a strong swimmer and his boat was inadequate for use in the surf at the mouth of the inlet, Parker took it through the inlet to Bennett, who by then was floating unconscious in the breakers. As waves swamped his boat, Parker reached over the side for Bennett, who outweighed him, but he could not pull Bennett aboard. The boat capsized. Parker managed to free its anchor, and he held to the overturned boat with one arm as he supported Bennett with the other. Allen, 25, sales assistant was on a personal watercraft in the vicinity when she came upon the men. She threw a line to them, but it fouled the motor of her craft, leaving it without power. With Parker remaining at his boat, Allen held to Bennett on the watercraft as it drifted away, its course taking them toward shore. When they reached wadable water atop a sandbar, Allen pushed Bennett onto the watercraft and shouted for help. Others responded from the beach and removed them to safety; likewise, Parker was returned to shore by others. Bennett, exhausted, was taken to the hospital for observation, and he recovered. Parker also was exhausted, and Allen was tired and shaken after the rescue. They too recovered.
83442-9460 / 84076-9461
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Dionysios Agelatos died attempting to save Barbara J. Agelatos from drowning, May 15, 2010, South Palm Beach, Florida. Swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, Barbara, 57, encountered difficulty and called for help. Her husband, Dionysios, 70, retired contractor, who was on the beach, entered the water for her, as did two other men who became aware of the situation. Dionysios also encountered difficulty in the water and was overcome. He was returned to the beach by the other men, as was Barbara. Responding lifeguards attempted to resuscitate the couple. They were then taken to the hospital but could not be revived, as both had drowned.
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Keansburg, New Jersey
Steve Fenton helped to save Brian Mendoza from drowning, Keansburg, New Jersey, June 6, 2010. Brian, 11, was treading water in Raritan Bay of the Atlantic Ocean after his inflatable raft was blown away from the beach. A man from shore took a one-person kayak into the choppy water to look for him but could not find him. Another man from shore, Fenton, 37, carpenter, waded and swam out to the kayak and boarded it. Although he had never used a kayak, Fenton paddled farther out in search of Brian. Finding him a good distance into the bay, Fenton took Brian aboard the kayak and began to paddle back to shore. His progress was slowed by his having to go against the wind and current, and about halfway back, the kayak rolled, throwing both Fenton and Brian into the bay. A boater who was alerted responded and pulled Brian aboard, but Fenton by then lacked the strength to aid in his own rescue. The crew of a responding Coast Guard boat took him aboard and transferred him to the other boat. Brian and Fenton were returned to shore uninjured. Fenton recovered from exhaustion within a few days.
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Michael T. Chura
Baldwinsville, New York
Michael T. Chura helped to save Priscilla R. Roslyn from burning, Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, August 11, 2010. Roslyn, 61, remained in the driver’s seat of her automobile after an accident in which the vehicle left the roadway, rolled down a grassy embankment, and came to rest upside down. Conscious but dazed, Roslyn was still secured by her safety belt as flames broke out on the exposed underside of the vehicle, at its front, and began to spread. On vacation, Chura, 48, fire chief, drove upon the scene just after the accident. He parked and ran to the burning vehicle’s driver’s door, which was open. To free Roslyn, he entered the vehicle, head first, through the window opening of the rear driver’s-side door and worked to release her safety belt. Flames were entering the vehicle. Chura was successful after repeated attempts, and Roslyn dropped to the ceiling of the car. Other men who responded to the scene pulled Roslyn from the vehicle as Chura backed through the window. He and the other men moved Roslyn away from the car as flames grew, engulfing it shortly and destroying it. Roslyn was hospitalized for treatment of injuries sustained in the accident, but she was not burned.
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Rickie D. McDowell, Jr.
Lincoln Park, Michigan
Rickie D. McDowell, Jr., saved Michael L. Harris from drowning, and Kevin Moss saved Craig W. Noble, Petoskey, Michigan, August 17, 2010. Harris, 58, was swimming in Little Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan off a beach at a state park when a very strong current kept him from returning to shore. After Noble, 56, swam to him but also became caught in the current, the men swam with difficulty to a buoy located about 180 feet from shore and clung to it. College students McDowell, 19, and Moss, 20, were in another party on the beach when they were alerted to the situation. They entered the water and swam out to the men. McDowell grasped Harris by an arm and Moss grasped Noble in a cross-chest carry as they attempted to swim toward shore, but they made no progress against the current. McDowell and Moss found that they could submerge and push off the lake floor. They did so repeatedly, pushing on Harris and Noble to propel them toward shore and using oncoming waves to provide momentum. When the rescuers reached wadable water with Harris and Noble, they were joined by others from the beach in aiding them from the lake. The men were tired and cold after the rescue, but they recovered.
83522-9465 / 83737-9466
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Roland Monte Blake, Jr.
Roland Monte Blake, Jr., saved Ronnie D. Roets from drowning, Shawnee, Oklahoma, July 3, 2010. Ronnie, 7, was caught by the swift current of runoff in a drainage ditch that extended through a residential neighborhood and ended at the entrance to a belowground culvert. He was seen attempting to grasp a concrete-slab bridge that crossed the ditch by Blake, 44, maintenance employee, who lived nearby. Blake immediately ran to the bridge and reached for Ronnie, but Ronnie was swept under the bridge as he was being carried toward the culvert. Blake ran along the bank of the ditch to a point beyond Ronnie and entered the water. Surfacing, he intercepted and caught Ronnie and then was swept farther downstream while holding him. After submerging a few times with Ronnie, Blake managed to throw him to a woman on the bank, and she took him to safety. Blake was carried to a point near the culvert from which he succeeded in climbing from the ditch. He suffered minor cuts to his legs, from which he recovered.
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Port Orchard, Washington
Robin Adair saved Bobbi Stott from burning, Belfair, Washington, August 22, 2010. Bobbi, 11 months old, was in a playpen in the master bedroom of her family’s mobile home when fire broke out on the structure’s front porch. Her mother escaped with three other children, and since flames grew to block her re-entry for Bobbi, she tried to gain access to the bedroom through one of its windows. Adair, 22, homemaker, and her boyfriend were driving in the area when they saw the fire. Adair joined Bobbi’s mother at the window and, after removing its screen, climbed up to the window with help from the mother and entered the bedroom. Smoke inside extending almost to the floor obscured visibility, but Adair made her way to the playpen in the far corner of the room. She picked Bobbi up and, covering her with a blanket, turned back toward the window. Momentarily blinded by the smoke, she followed her boyfriend’s voice to the window and handed Bobbi outside. Aided by the others, Adair then climbed through the window and dropped to the ground. Flames grew to destroy much of the structure. Bobbi was not injured, but Adair sought medical treatment for back pain.
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William B. Jackson, Jr.,deceased
Hendersonville, North Carolina
William B. Jackson, Jr., died attempting to save William B. Jackson, Sr., from drowning, Mill Spring, North Carolina, May 30, 2010. William, Sr., 47, was on his 16-foot pontoon boat in a cove of Lake Adger with others, including his young daughter. Unobserved, they entered the water, and William was next seen struggling in the water behind the boat. He then submerged. His son, William, Jr., 21, was also on the boat. William called out for his father and then jumped into the water after him. He too submerged, and neither man resurfaced. The daughter, who was wearing a life jacket, was removed from the water by other boaters. Responding rescue personnel later recovered the bodies of William and his father from the cove. They had drowned.
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Timothy Lee Rostar
Timothy Lee Rostar rescued Robert G. Wiley from an attacking bull, Alanson, Michigan, April 18, 2009. Wiley, 65, was moving his 1,800-pound bull through a passageway of his barn when it turned on him, took him to the floor, and pinned him by the chest against the frame of a passageway door. He screamed for help. A neighbor who had come to visit, Rostar, 46, business operator, was elsewhere in the barn. He responded to the other side of the door, opened it, and saw the attack. Rostar entered the passageway and approached the bull. He grasped it by the ears and pulled, but to no effect. Rostar then picked up a spade and struck the bull hard on its skull with a point of the blade. The bull released Wiley, jumped over him, and left the passageway and then the barn. Rostar secured the barn against the bull’s re-entry and then left to alert help. Wiley required hospitalization for treatment of significant injuries, including broken bones.
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Matthew Charles Logan
Kevin Joseph Barbee
Donald L. Galloway
Matthew Charles Logan, Kevin Joseph Barbee, and Donald L. Galloway saved Kerry A. Wagner from burning, Moscow, Idaho, June 27, 2010. Trapped by wreckage, Wagner, 51, was unconscious in the driver’s seat of his pickup truck after a highway accident in which the truck collided head on with another pickup. The two vehicles came to a stop upright, parallel to each other, and only about five feet apart. Flames broke out at the front of the other pickup, the driver of which died in the accident. Motorists, including Logan, 29, store manager, stopped at the scene. After going between the vehicles and attempting to gain access to the cab of the other pickup, Logan entered Wagner’s truck through the front passenger door. Despite flames by then issuing from the front of that vehicle, he positioned himself on the front seat, placed his feet against the ceiling, and pushed hard to move the seat, thereby freeing Wagner. Meanwhile, Barbee, 44, lumber grader, had arrived at Wagner’s pickup and broke out windows on its driver’s side to access Wagner. He then went between the vehicles to its passenger side, joining Galloway, 44, utility company foreman, who had arrived. The heat between the vehicles was intense. After freeing Wagner, Logan pulled him toward the opened door and stepped from the vehicle. Barbee and Galloway leaned into the pickup, grasped Wagner, and, with Logan, pulled him out of the truck and carried him to safety. Within minutes, flames engulfed both pickups. Although spared from burning, Wagner suffered multiple injuries in the collision, requiring hospitalization and surgery. He recovered. Galloway recovered from a minor burn to his face.
83292-9471 / 83715-9472 / 83531-9473
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Cameron C. Gilbert
Cameron C. Gilbert rescued Alex R. Abrahamian from assault, Rocklin, California, March 24, 2009. Abrahamian, 21, was visiting at a college campus and was walking on a sidewalk there when one of the male students, 22, jumped on his back and stabbed him repeatedly with a knife. Abrahamian screamed as he struggled against the assailant. Gilbert, 19, another student at the college, was walking nearby and saw the attack. He hurried to the men, stepped between them, and pushed them apart. When the assailant tried to resume his attack on Abrahamian, Gilbert pushed him to the ground. The assailant dropped the knife, which Gilbert then kicked away. As others tended to Abrahamian, Gilbert stood between him and the assailant until police arrived and arrested the assailant. Abrahamian was hospitalized three weeks for treatment of his wounds, which were severe. He recovered.
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North Dighton, Massachusetts
Robert Hugh Flanagan
George J. Flanagan
Allyson Powell, Robert Hugh Flanagan, and George J. Flanagan saved Michael A. Canty from burning, Swansea, Massachusetts, July 21, 2010. Canty, 23, was unconscious in the driver’s seat of his sport utility vehicle after it left the highway at night, struck a tree, and caught fire at its front end. Robert Flanagan, 61, associate professor, and his brother, George, 63, retired teacher, were traveling on the highway and witnessed the accident. They stopped at the scene and, reporting the accident, approached the vehicle, finding that it was occupied. They attempted to open the vehicle’s doors and to fight the fire with an extinguisher but were not successful. Powell, 31, state trooper, responded to the scene within moments of being alerted, and she too tried to open the doors. She then broke out the window of the rear passenger-side door, partially entered the smoke-filled vehicle, and attempted without success to cut Canty’s safety belt. After withdrawing for air, she gained entry through the front passenger-side door. Despite flames that were beginning to enter the vehicle beneath the dashboard, she climbed fully inside, lifted Canty enough to access the latch to his safety belt, and released the belt. She then pulled on Canty but found that he was trapped by wreckage. When she asked for help from Robert and George, Robert leaned through the broken-out window and grasped Canty by the belt, and George leaned through the opened front door and grasped him by an arm. The three rescuers pulled on Canty repeatedly, until he was free. They dragged him from the vehicle and took him to safety as flames grew to fill and engulf the car, destroying it. Canty was hospitalized for treatment of his injuries, and Powell also required hospital treatment, for smoke inhalation. She recovered, as did Robert, who had sustained bruising.
83369-9475 / 83478-9476 / 83479-9477
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