Carnegie Medal presentation to Duncan O. C. Harris and Peter F. Pontzer


Feb. 23, 2017 was proclaimed “Duncan O. C. Harris Day” by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner in honor of the man who was awarded a Carnegie Medal for helping to save a teenage boy from drowning during the summer of 2015.  Rauner presented Harris with the Carnegie Medal in the governor’s statehouse office.  Five days later, Harris’s co-rescuer, Peter F. Pontzer, was presented his medal by the Fairfax County (Va.) Board of Supervisors.  Harris and Pontzer were each vacationing with their families at Emerald Isle, N.C., on July 28, 2015, when they were alerted to two boys from a church group who were having difficulty in the Atlantic Ocean attempting to return to shore.  They didn’t know each other, but Harris, then 21, a construction worker, and Pontzer, 51, an administrative judge from Fairfax, together made their way out to one of the boys, who was about 350 feet from shore.  They labored to return him to the beach, and each required hospital treatment for effects of their exertion. Read more.

Duncan O. C. Harris, left, with Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. Rauner presented the Carnegie Medal to Harris on “Duncan O. C. Harris Day.”
Carnegie Medal presentation
Peter F. Pontzer, shown holding his medal, was presented the Carnegie Medal by the Fairfax County (Va.) Board of Supervisors. Pontzer is shown with his family, bottom row from left, daughters Katie and Emma, and wife, Margaret. At right of Pontzer are Sharon Bulova, supervisors board chair, and Hero Fund Executive Director Eric P. Zahren.


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