Carnegie Medal Presentation to Carnegie Hero Michael Benjamin James

Carnegie Hero Michael Benjamin James

Railroad signal maintainer Michael Benjamin James, center, celebrated with his mother, Janet Shuler, left, and wife, Cortney Skelding, right, after he received the Carnegie Medal from Michael Melham, mayor of Belleville, N.J., during the township council’s meeting on Feb. 25, 2020, James, who lives in Belleville, helped save a woman from drowning after her car went into the Passaic River on March 4, 2019. Then 36, James entered the 37-degree river and swam to the woman, who had been trying to stay afloat atop the trunk of her sinking car. James grasped her and towed her toward the nearest bank, where police officers threw rope to them and worked to pull them to safety. Melham told James that he acted “without thought for his own safety.”

“It’s just great that you were there, it’s great that our fire (department) and our police responded, and everybody got out of there safe,” the mayor said