A Souderton, Pennsylvania, fire department chief and president made a special house call this past August to deliver a Carnegie Medal lapel pin requested by Carnegie Hero Paul H. Stoudt, Jr., 53 years earlier.
Stoudt was awarded the Carnegie Medal in 1966, for saving a 44-year-old truck driver whose feet were caught in the burning passenger compartment after an accident one year earlier. Stoudt, then a 33-year-old cook and inexperienced volunteer fire fighter, ran to the scene, pulled on the man, and called to others for help in freeing them. Although one other person came to the scene, he quickly abandoned the rescue due to intense heat. Stoudt braced himself on the truck’s bumper and pulled harder. As the driver’s feet and legs burned and Stoudt’s arm and hands burned, Stoudt pulled him free of the wreckage.
Stoudt served the Perseverance Volunteer Fire Company in Souderton for 63 years, including 20 years as chief.
While researching a story for Impulse’s summer 2020 edition, Editor Jewels Phraner came across a letter sent by Stoudt in 1967 to the Hero Fund requesting a lapel pin.
“We regret, however, that we must send a disappointing response to your inquiry,” Hero Fund Manager David B. Oliver replied to Stoudt’s letter. At the time the Commission didn’t have lapel pins to offer, but that changed in 2004.
“I am honored and privileged to provide you with a lapel pin now,” wrote Phraner in a July 22, 2020, letter to Stoudt.