Carnegie Medal presentation to Frank P. Axiotes

Photo by Cody Thomas/Nebraska State Patrol

Frank P. Axiotes receives the Carnegie Medal during a presentation held on November 21, 2022, at the state capitol in Lincoln, Nebraska. From left, Nebraska State Patrol Superintendent Col. John A. Bolduc, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, and Axiotes’s wife, Shelley, join Axiotes in the Governor’s hearing room at a public ceremony commemorating Axiotes’s rescue of a woman trapped inside a burning SUV.

“Frank’s initiative and courageous action helped save lives,” said Ricketts. “He’s a true Nebraska hero and well deserving of the Carnegie Medal. Stepping up to help a neighbor in need is something Nebraskans do every day. Frank’s bravery is a fantastic example of the spirit of Nebraskans.”

On September 25, 2020, after a multi-car accident trapped a woman inside a burning SUV, Axiotes, who was driving by, stopped and ran across the highway to a concrete barrier that the vehicle was pinned against. The vehicle was stuck between a tractor-trailer and another car, and so Axiotes reached into the driver’s window and grasped the woman, but he was unable to move her. He jumped onto the vehicle’s hood and attempted to smash the windshield, but was unsuccessful. Meanwhile, another bystander arrived and Axiotes returned to the driver’s window again. The pair reached through the woman’s window and pulled her from the SUV. The vehicle’s tires popped as the flames grew larger while Axiotes and the man helped guide the woman to safety.

“Everybody around me tells me I am a hero, but I did what I wish anybody would do if my kids were in that situation,” said Axiotes.