Walter F. Ward rescued Cora Wuester from burning, Dunning, Nebraska, June 29, 1957. The two-ton truck in which Mrs. Wuester, 57, was riding overturned onto its right side on the highway and burst into flames, which were fed by gasoline spilled from cans carried in the rear of the truck. Mrs. Wuester, inside the cab in a seated position against the right door and surrounded by flames, screamed for help. Ward, 19, farm laborer, who had been driving the truck, had climbed through the open window on the upper side of the cab and was beating out flames on his shirt. Despite burns he already had sustained on his hands and arms, he returned to the truck and crawled onto the door as flames rose as much as 12 feet above the fuel tank directly behind the cab and also burned on the door and hood. Kneeling, he reached downward through the open window into the burning cab and took hold of Mrs. Wuester, whose dress was afire. With much effort and using his forearms more than his burned hands, Ward drew Mrs. Wuester through the window. Both toppled onto the highway, where they got to their feet and moved away from the truck, beating out the flames on their clothing. A passing motorist took them to a hospital. Mrs. Wuester suffered burns on her arms and legs, which healed. Ward suffered severe burns on his hands, arms, chest, and head, losing parts of his ears and nose. He underwent extensive hospitalization and treatment, but he will be permanently disabled. 44875-4354
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Walter Franklin Ward, 67, of Independence, Kan., died at St. John’s Medical Center in Tulsa, Okla, on June 28, 2006.
Ward was born on Sept. 1, 1938, in Collins, Mo., to Charley and Ellen (Gardner) Ward. He had lived in the Indepdendence area for the last 40 years of his life.
Ward was employed by the Montgomery County Public Works Department for 26 years, serving as a supervisor for 18 years before retiring. He and his his wife were co-owners of 75 Auto Sales in Neodesha, Kan.
Ward received the Carnegie Medal for rescuing a woman from a fire in which he was severely burned.
(Edited from an obituary provided by a family member.)