Carnegie Medal for Heroism presentation to the family of James G. David

The family of Carnegie Hero James G. David was presented with his Carnegie Medal by Congressman Dan Kildee and Hero Fund President Eric Zahren at a Jan. 26 presentation held at the Saginaw county government building in Michigan. Pictured is David’s widow, center, and his two children, Adam, far left, and Emma, far right, with Rep. Dan Kildee and Eric Zahren.

James G. David was posthumously awarded the Carnegie Medal for attempting to save his grandson from drowning in Essexville, Michigan, on July 16, 2022. David was fishing with family on a boat in Saginaw Bay when his 4-year old grandson, who was wearing a life vest, fell off the back of the boat into the water amid waves and a large wake. The boy’s father, Adam David, immediately jumped into the boat after him, but the two struggled. David then entered the water and swam nearly 200 feet to take his grandson from his son. As the father swam back to the boat that drifted away at a trolley speed, David and his grandson separated in the water. At some point David lost consciousness in the water. Another boat carrying two men arrived and retrieved the grandson and Adam from the water. Rescue boats arrived and took David aboard where resuscitation efforts began. The grandson was observed at a hospital after inhaling water and recovered. David could not be revived and drowned.

At the ceremony, U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee presented a congressional proclamation to David’s family in recognition of his bravery.

“He’s no longer with us, but his memory should be a reminder of how we should live our lives, selflessly and without fear. People like James, hold our community together,” said Kildee.

Hero Fund President Eric Zahren traveled to Saginaw to present the medal to David’s widow.

“They’re forced to make a difficult decision to act to save another’s life. And James made the decision to act,” Zahren said.

Adam David described his father when speaking to local news outlets.

“The dude always had a smile on his face, loved to camp, loved to fish, and loved everything about his family,” Adam said.

David’s daughter, Emma David, agreed: “just the funny self he was, and the hero he died being,” Emma told reporters.

Kildee represents Michigan’s eighth district.