Friends remembered: John William Oplinger

John William Oplinger, 72, of Wapwallopen, Pennsylvania, died Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.John William Oplinger

Oplinger received the Carnegie Medal in 2006 for rescuing a 15-year-old boy who was trapped in a burning pickup truck after a nighttime accident on Feb. 27, 2004, in Mountain Top, Pennsylvania. The truck entered a wooded area and caught fire at its front end. Oplinger, 56, residential service aide, was driving on the road and stopped at the scene. He and another male motorist who stopped removed the driver and other occupants of the vehicle through the window of the driver’s door. By then, flames had entered the passenger compartment of the vehicle and were growing. Oplinger and the motorist pulled the 15-year-old boy from the vehicle, through its driver’s side. They carried him to safety moments before the interior of the truck was engulfed by flames.

Oplinger was always lending a helping hand to his friends and neighbors. Described as stubborn, he always set an example as a respectable man, loyal husband, father, and friend, according to his obituary. Oplinger enjoyed spending time with family, gardening, and taking naps with the family cat.

He was retired from White Haven Center.

Oplinger is survived by his wife, Mary Bagel Oplinger; sons John and Matthew Oplinger; brothers, Mark, David, and William Oplinger; and sisters Mary Simpson and Linda Mascelli.