Carnegie Hero Herbert A. Moran was a quiet man, according to his adult daughter, Kristen Solari, of Escalon, California.
It wasn’t until after his death that she discovered the Carnegie Medal he had received at the age of 24 for saving a 16-year-old girl from burning after a March 14, 1978, car wreck in Hayward, California.
Moran, of Arnold, California, died Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, California, after a difficult illness. He was 66. Solari contacted the Hero Fund to tell her father’s story. Solari said she knew of his rescue act – and that he was likely en route to or from the hospital where his wife and newborn daughter, Solari’s sister, were in intensive care after a complicated delivery days earlier – when he came across the car accident.
Sixteen-year-old Stacy Grimmer left her burning car and slipped on leaked gasoline that had pooled on the roadway. Her body and clothing went up in flames. Moran ran to her, pulled her out of the burning gasoline and patted the flames out. His hands were burned.
“I do not want to spend the rest of my days remembering the difficult days,” Solari said. “We could all do better for remembering the good in people.”
Although he was born in Germany, he graduated from Antelope Valley High School in Lancaster, California, where he received a “Good Guy” award by the Lancaster Women’s Club.
He went on to work construction for 25 years, while raising Solari and her sister, Tracee. Outside of work, Moran had a passion for aeronautics and was a board member of regional air shows. He was an associate of Lions Club International and was integral in creating and serving on the inaugural board for Manteca Little League. He also coached regional championship girls’ softball teams.
Moran enjoyed outdoor activities including boating, snow and water skiing, camping, scuba diving, and travel. He also found delight in reading and music. According to his daughter, he had a soft spot for dogs and other animals.
“My dad was not perfect […] but he was absolutely one to persevere something my sister and I have learned to do as well,” Solari shared.