Brett Bailes, C. Fredric Holbeck, and Dennis Wilson

Brett Bailes
Brett Bailes, C. Fredric Holbeck, and Dennis Wilson
C. Fredric Holbeck

Brett Bailes, C. Fredric Holbeck, and Dennis Wilson saved Nathaniel A. Wissink from burning, Omaha, Nebraska, February 26, 2016.

Wissink, 28, was unconscious and trapped in the front passenger seat of a car after it was struck on its driver’s side by a pickup truck traveling at high speed through a residential neighborhood.  The car, which burst into flame, was demolished, with its back end split almost apart from the front, its fuel tank ruptured, and most windows broken out.  Flames issued from the rear of the vehicle, including the backseat area, and were spreading toward the front seats, producing dense smoke.

Bailes, 31, sales manager, was at his home nearby and immediately ran to the scene, where he saw a backseat passenger, aflame, step from the wreckage.  He extinguished the flames on her.

Meanwhile, Holbeck, 54, biologist, who also lived nearby, also immediately ran to the scene to find the car’s driver emerging through the window of the driver’s door.  Holbeck aided him from the vehicle and took him to safety.

Likewise, another neighbor, Wilson, 66, retired field investigator, immediately ran to the scene and with the two other men learned that Wissink was still in the vehicle.  After going to the car’s front passenger door, which he could not open, Bailes joined Holbeck and Wilson at the driver’s door, where Holbeck had bent down the window frame.

In repeated attempts, the men reached through the opening, locating Wissink but finding that he was trapped by wreckage.  They pulled on him until he was freed, Wilson standing adjacent to flames at the rear of the vehicle.  The men pulled Wissink head first through the opening and dragged him to safety, flames shortly engulfing the car’s interior.

Wissink required hospitalization for treatment of his injuries.

88111-9941  /  88206-9942  /  88181-9943

Carnegie Medal presentation

Back to awardees
News release PDF