Carnegie Medals awarded to 21
for extraordinary acts of heroism
PITTSBURGH, PA, SEPTEMBER 29, 2005—In its fourth award announcement of 2005, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 21 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, and five others joined forces to rescue injured workmen from the bottom of a mineshaft in Cameron, W. Va., immediately following a methane explosion in early 2003.
The heroes announced today bring to 74 the number of persons who have been recognized by the Commission in 2005 and to 8,943 the total number since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission President Mark Laskow stated that each of the awardees or their survivors will also receive a grant of $3,500. Throughout the 101 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $28.1 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.
The awardees are:
|Robert Diaz, deceased||Huffman, Texas|
|Miranda A. Elkins||Gainesville, Texas|
|Donald James Miller||Port Moody, B.C.|
|Stephen F. Coenen||New Orleans, La.|
|John Glenn Dubois, deceased||Regina, Sask.|
|Steven Glenn||Las Vegas, Nev.|
|Bryce Stetler||Plover, Wis.|
|Paul J. Moore||Tacoma, Wash.|
|Camron Erway||Larned, Kan.|
|Michael Redice||Charlotte, N.C.|
|Clifton Anthony||Las Vegas, Nev.|
|Christopher P. Meehan, deceased||Manassas, Va.|
|Elvin Leo Troxler, deceased||Ellerbe, N.C.|
|Terence Michael Wiles||Luzerne, Mich.|
|Joshua L. Belanger||Clio, Mich.|
|Aaron S. Meyer||Cameron, W. Va.|
|Jack Cain||Wind Ridge, Pa.|
|Brent M. Wharry||Moundsville, W. Va.|
|Steven M. Cook||Glen Dale, W. Va.|
|Donald M. Kline||Morehead City, N.C.|
|D. Brent Martin||Cincinnati, Ohio|
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
Robert Diaz, deceased
Miranda A. Elkins
Robert Diaz died attempting to help save Hedilberto Martinez, Jr., from drowning, and Miranda A. Elkins saved Martinez and helped attempt to save Diaz, South Padre Island, Texas, August 20, 2004. Martinez, 18, was swimming in the Gulf of Mexico when he was carried away from shore by a strong current. Unable to return against the current to shore, he called for help. On the beach in that vicinity, Diaz, 46, business operator, and Elkins, 22, college student, were among those alerted to his plight. Diaz entered the water and waded and swam to Martinez, then grasped him. Elkins also swam out to him. After Martinez grasped Elkins and submerged her, Elkins surfaced and talked to him, to calm him. On her direction, he then held to her as she swam toward shore. As it was a windy day, their progress was hampered by rough water and the current. They reached shore safely. Diaz, meanwhile, also encountered difficulty in the water. Elkins and three others swam out to him, finding him floating face down. They returned him to shore and attempted to revive him. He was removed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead of drowning. Neither Martinez nor Elkins was injured.
78009-8923 / 78122-8924
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Donald James Miller
Port Moody, British Columbia
Donald James Miller rescued Martina H. Seymour from assault, Port Moody, British Columbia, August 9, 2004. Seymour, 34, struggled against a man who was attempting to abduct her in his pickup truck, which was parked along the side of a street. A motorist, Miller, 48, chief operating officer, saw the struggle as he drove past. Miller parked on the opposite side of the street, about 60 feet from the scene, and began to approach it on foot. As he did so, Seymour ran into the street, the assailant following; the assailant shot at Seymour repeatedly with a .22-caliber revolver, striking her and felling her as she reached the other side. Miller returned to his car and entered. Seeing that Seymour had gotten up and was starting to approach, he opened the front passenger door and shouted for her to get in. With Seymour inside the car, Miller started to drive away. The assailant fired again, shattering the passenger-door window and striking Seymour one more time. Miller drove Seymour to safety, and she was hospitalized for treatment of her wounds, which required surgery and a long convalescence. The assailant was pursued by police and exchanged gunfire with them. Shot, he died later that day.
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Stephen F. Coenen
New Orleans, Louisiana
Stephen F. Coenen rescued Michael Williams from assault, New Orleans, Louisiana, December 7, 2002. While he was walking along a residential street late at night, Williams, 36, was attacked by two men, one of whom was armed with a loaded handgun. They took him to the pavement and beat and robbed him. Returning on a bicycle to his nearby home, Coenen, 53, landscape architect, witnessed the assault. He approached the scene on his bicycle and shouted at the assailants to stop the attack, but to no effect. Coenen advanced to a point closer, then picked up his bicycle and threw it at the assailants. The armed assailant aimed his gun at Coenen and shot him in the chest. Coenen collapsed. The assailants fled but were later apprehended. Coenen and Williams were taken to the hospital for treatment of their injuries, Coenen’s including a collapsed lung that required a hospital stay and a two-month convalescence.
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John Glenn Dubois, deceased
John Glenn Dubois rescued Rochelle M. Rose and Thomas L. Giles from assault, Regina, Saskatchewan, June 19, 2003. Rose, 28, and her son Thomas, 4, were in a bedroom of their one-story house when a man armed with a steak knife broke down the front door, entered, and, threatening to kill Rose, proceeded to the bedroom. The assailant had just broken into other houses on that block, and neighbors, including Dubois, 43, who was disabled, witnessed the break-in at Rose’s house. Obtaining a wooden broom handle from his next-door home, Dubois entered Rose’s house, where he found that the assailant was holding the door to the bedroom closed. Dubois forced his way into the bedroom and struggled against the assailant, disarming him of the knife. As Rose and Thomas fled the house, Dubois pinned the assailant to the floor with the broom handle, the assailant continuously struggling against him. Police officers responded shortly and with difficulty handcuffed the assailant. Neither Dubois nor Rose or Thomas was injured.
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Las Vegas, Nevada
Steven Glenn rescued Kathryn A. Atkinson and helped to rescue Susan H. Rhodes from assault, Henderson, Nevada, December 10, 2002. Atkinson, 56, and Rhodes, 54, were at work in a county social services office when an enraged man who was armed with three knives attacked Atkinson on the front porch of the office building, stabbing and cutting her repeatedly. Glenn, 32, security officer, was inside the building when he heard Atkinson scream, then saw the attack taking place. Although he was unarmed, Glenn ran across the waiting room to the porch, opened the front door, and knocked the assailant off Atkinson. The assailant recovered and stabbed Glenn in the chest, then he entered the building and attacked Rhodes, stabbing her twice, as she was attempting to call police from the waiting room. Glenn re-entered the building, where, joined by others, he engaged in intense fighting to keep the assailant from Rhodes. Police arrived shortly and apprehended the assailant. Atkinson, Rhodes, and Glenn all required hospital treatment for stab wounds, cuts, and other injuries, Glenn’s including fractures to his lower back. He was left partially disabled.
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Bryce Stetler saved Savanah B. Swartz from burning, New Hope, Wisconsin, September 20, 2004. Following a highway accident involving a pickup truck and the sport utility vehicle in which she was the passenger, Savanah, 1, remained strapped in her car seat, which was secured to the back seat of the vehicle. Flames broke out at the front end of that vehicle and grew rapidly, entering the front of the passenger compartment. A motorist, Stetler, 26, lawncare specialist, witnessed the accident. He approached the passenger side of the sport utility vehicle and, hearing Savanah cry, opened the rear door. Despite intense heat about the vehicle and flames and smoke inside, Stetler extended his upper body into the vehicle, placing one knee on the floor. He worked unsuccessfully to release Savanah from her seat, then he pulled the seat free and removed it, with Savanah, outside to safety. After carrying her away, Stetler returned to the vehicles to aid in the rescue of others inside them. Savanah’s grandmother, who was driving the sport utility vehicle, died in the accident, as did a passenger in the pickup. Two others in the pickup survived. Savanah was hospitalized overnight for treatment of minor injury. She recovered.
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Paul J. Moore
Paul J. Moore saved Andrey Melnichenko from drowning, Ilwaco, Washington, August 16, 2003. Andrey, 11, and his father shouted for help as they struggled against the rough surf of the Pacific Ocean at a point about 150 feet from shore. Camping nearby, Moore, 34, forensic engineer, was alerted to the situation and immediately responded. Despite air and water temperatures in the 60s and eight-foot breakers, Moore entered the surf and began to wade toward Andrey, who was closer to shore than his father. The breakers impeded Moore’s progress, drawing him back toward shore. Swimming the rest of the way, Moore reached Andrey, who was barely conscious. He returned Andrey to shore then re-entered the water to look for Andrey’s father. The father had disappeared from view, and Moore returned to shore as rescue personnel were arriving. Andrey was taken to the hospital for treatment, and he recovered. Moore was tired after the rescue but recovered later that day. Andrey’s father was not found.
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Camron Erway saved Lawrence D. Frizell from burning, Larned, Kansas, December 10, 2004. At night, Frizell, 49, fell asleep in the living room of the single-story house in which he lived. Fire broke out in that room and filled it with dense smoke. A neighbor driving near the scene, Erway, 33, financial planner, discovered the fire and reported it. Despite flames issuing from the living room windows, Erway approached the house, opened the front door, and, leaning inside, shouted for any occupants. He heard moaning. Erway entered the house and immediately went to his hands and knees in the dense smoke and intense heat. Following the sound of the moaning, he advanced toward Frizell, who lay unconscious on the floor about 10 feet from the door. As a smoldering upholstered chair blocked Erway’s path, he pushed it out of the way. He then grasped Frizell by his jacket and, retracing his course, dragged him to the door, then outside to safety as flames spread in the living room. Frizell was hospitalized overnight for treatment of smoke inhalation, and he recovered.
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Charlotte, North Carolina
Michael Redice rescued Roddie P. Dumas, Jr., from attacking dogs, Charlotte, North Carolina, April 16, 2004. Roddie, 8, was being attacked by four adult pit bulls in the back yard of the house where his father lived. Redice, 48, letter carrier, was on his route in the neighborhood when he heard Roddie screaming for help. Redice ran to the yard, which was bordered by a chain-link fence, and threw his mailbag over the fence at the dogs to distract them. He then obtained a piece of wood and jumped over the fence. Shouting at the dogs, Redice advanced, swinging the piece of wood, until the dogs backed away from Roddie. Arriving firefighters removed Roddie from the yard, Redice following, and transported him to the hospital. He was pronounced dead there as the result of his wounds.
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Las Vegas, Nevada
Clifton Anthony saved Matthew Arrigoni from burning, Las Vegas, Nevada, December 19, 2003. In early morning, Matthew, 6 months old, was in a playpen in the living room of his parents’ apartment after fire broke out in the adjoining kitchen and filled the living room with dense smoke. Anthony, 44, cashier, who lived next door, was asleep when alerted to the fire by Matthew’s mother after she escaped the unit through a window. Responding immediately, Anthony kicked in the front door of the burning apartment and took a few steps into the living room. He was repulsed by the smoke, which offered little or no visibility, and retreated for fresh air. Re-entering, Anthony crawled to the playpen, taking direction from Matthew’s mother. He found the infant, picked him up, and took him outside to safety. Neither was injured.
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Christopher P. Meehan, deceased
Christopher P. Meehan died helping to save a boy from drowning, Woodbridge, Virginia, July 27, 2003. While on a family picnic, an 11-year-old boy was wading with five other boys in the Potomac River, off the grounds of a state park. They were carried by strong currents into water beyond their depth and shouted for help. A guest at the picnic, Meehan, 33, security systems installer, was standing in wadable water at the scene. He swam out to the boys and, reaching the 11-year-old, grasped him and pushed him to a man who had responded on a personal watercraft. That man took the boy to safety and also aided in the rescue of four of the other boys. The fifth boy submerged and drowned, as did Meehan. His body was recovered from the river the following day.
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Elvin Leo Troxler, deceased
Ellerbe, North Carolina
Elvin Leo Troxler died after helping to save Summer L. Troxler from drowning, Ellerbe, North Carolina, January 4, 2005. Summer, 11 months old, was in the back seat of a sport utility vehicle that, from a parked position, rolled down a steep lawn and entered a pond. In the darkness, the vehicle began to sink in water about 10 feet deep at a point about 40 feet from the bank. Summer’s grandfather, Troxler, 67, retired supervisor, lived at the scene. Alerted to the situation, he ran down to the pond, entered the water, and swam out to the driver’s side of the vehicle, joining Summer’s mother, who also had swum out. Unable to open the doors on that side of the vehicle, Summer’s mother moved to the passenger side and Troxler hoisted himself partially onto the vehicle, thereby tilting its passenger side up. Summer’s mother then opened the rear passenger-side door and removed Summer from the vehicle. As other relatives who responded took Summer and her mother back to the bank, Troxler was seen floating face down near the vehicle. He too was removed to the bank, where resuscitation was attempted. Troxler was taken to the hospital, where he died five days later. Summer and her mother were also hospitalized, overnight, for effects of taking in water, and they recovered.
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Terence Michael Wiles
Joshua L. Belanger
Terence Michael Wiles and Joshua L. Belanger helped to rescue Michael C. and Chad A. Turner from burning, Luzerne, Michigan, September 14, 2004. Brothers Michael, 12, and Chad, 10, were sleeping on the upper level of their family’s 1.5-story house after fire broke out there late at night and filled it with dense smoke. A neighbor, Wiles, 46, was alerted to the fire and immediately responded. He entered the house and ran upstairs, but the smoke and intense heat repulsed his repeated attempts to enter the upper level. Wiles exited the house, climbed atop a one-story extension, and broke out a window to vent the upper level. Retracing his course up the stairs, he entered the second level and found Michael, who lay unconscious in a cubbyhole extending the length of the house. Wiles pulled Michael from the cubbyhole through an opening in the wall and took him to the stairs, where he handed him to Michael’s father. Wiles then returned to the cubbyhole, found Chad, who also was unconscious, and moved him toward the opening, but he was repulsed by smoke and heat and returned downstairs. Notified of the fire, Belanger, 22, sheriff’s deputy, had responded to the scene by then, even though he was off duty. He went upstairs for Chad, but smoke and heat likewise repulsed him, and he returned to the first floor for a wet cloth. Holding the cloth to his face, Belanger went back to the second floor and crawled about in search of Chad, the smoke severely restricting visibility and inhibiting breathing. He found Chad at the entrance to the cubbyhole. Placing Chad on his back, Belanger carried him downstairs and outside to safety. Both boys were hospitalized for treatment of smoke inhalation, and Michael had second-degree burns to his face. Wiles and Belanger sustained mild smoke inhalation, and Wiles required hospital treatment for a cut to his hand. All recovered.
78101-8935 / 77928-8936
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Aaron S. Meyer
Cameron, West Virginia
Wind Ridge, Pennsylvania
Brent M. Wharry
Moundsville, West Virginia
Steven M. Cook
Glen Dale, West Virginia
Donald M. Kline
Morehead City, North Carolina
Aaron S. Meyer attempted to help rescue Richard F. Brumley and Benjamin L. Bair from effects of an explosion, and Jack Cain, Brent M. Wharry, Steven M. Cook, and Donald M. Kline rescued Brumley and Bair, Cameron, West Virginia, January 22, 2003. Brumley, 51; Bair, 23; and Meyer, 26, driller, were part of a nightshift crew working inside a vertical air shaft that was under construction on the site of a coal mine. Near the bottom of the shaft, which was about 940 feet below ground, they and three other men were on a work platform when a build-up of methane outside the shaft exploded at that level. The explosion injured Brumley, Bair, and Meyer and killed the three other men, and it left dust suspended in the shaft. Meyer pulled Brumley to his feet and helped him to reach a hoist, which would have taken them to the surface, but Brumley was not able to board the hoist because of injury. Forfeiting the opportunity to leave the uncertain, post-explosion atmosphere of the shaft, Meyer sent the conveyance to the surface for additional help as he remained behind to aid the injured men. When the hoist returned empty, Meyer made a second attempt to help Brumley board it, but again the effort was not successful. Meyer left the shaft to obtain help. Without having the shaft’s hazards ascertained, he and a coworker, Cain, 44, topman, took the hoist to the floor of the shaft, where Cain concluded that moving Brumley and Bair without medical attention would aggravate their injuries. Meyer and Cain returned to the surface. By then, emergency personnel, including paramedics, firefighters, and two sheriff’s deputies, were responding, and paramedics began to treat Meyer for his injuries. Cain asked for help for Brumley and Bair, and of those assembled, the sheriff’s deputies, Wharry, 27, and Cook, 27, volunteered, as did Kline, 32, paramedic. None of the volunteers was trained for the purpose, nor had any, save Cain, been inside a mine. The four men descended to the floor of the shaft, where they lifted Brumley into the hoist. They then put Bair on a stretcher and positioned it across the top of the hoist, then they took the hoist to the surface. Brumley and Bair were hospitalized for treatment of extensive and severe injuries. Meyer was treated at the hospital that night for minor burns and cuts and bruising. Recovery of the men who had been killed was effected later that day, after safe conditions inside the shaft were assured.
76612-8937 / 76655-8938 / 76609-8939 / 76610-8940 / 76611-8941
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