This summer the Carnegie Hero Fund offered intern positions in the outreach and investigative departments. A Master’s student at the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz School of Business, Elijah Lambiotte, is spending the summer in the Fund’s outreach department and Claire Skirtich, a rising senior in Gannon University’s criminal justice program, is spending her time working on investigations. Here they share what drew them to the Hero Fund.
It wasn’t an easy decision when I moved to Pittsburgh from my small hometown of Punxsutawney. The tall buildings, busy traffic, crowds of people—to say it overstimulated me was an understatement, especially because I was used to everything being so still. Days would pass in Punxsy and it always stayed the same. I liked it, it was simple and comforting.
However, when it became time to choose a college, something about the University of Pittsburgh drew me in. When I visited the campus I was confused and nervous, but also strangely excited. The city of Pittsburgh wasn’t still, it moved and breathed with human activity; to me it seemed like it could become the start of a great adventure.
Five years later, I’ve discovered that Pittsburgh is not only a bustling and endlessly fascinating city, but also one with a rich history. The courses I took on the city’s development, along with visits I made to the Carnegie National History Museum were some of the highlights of my time at Pitt, and they were the first things that came to mind when I found the summer internship at the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.
The cases of bravery and heroism that the Commission deals with are imbued with the same excitement that initially drew me to Pittsburgh. Reading about these individuals who perform selfless acts in the face of danger remind me that Pittsburgh, and places like it, will continue to radiate with life and hope.
At this position, I’m excited to contribute to the Commission’s thorough and meticulous process of recognizing the deeds of heroes and rewarding them for their fearlessness. I’m also honored to become a part of Andrew Carnegie’s legacy. There’s no doubt that after this summer, I’ll have completed work that I can truly be proud of and will remember for rest of my life.
I have always been drawn to helping others and being the person people can depend on for anything. Ever since I was a child, I have looked up to law enforcement officials who risk their lives every single day just to help those around them. Watching the news and reading the papers, I always found myself wanting to be them. This innate feeling is what I believe drew me towards criminal justice.
I now attend Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania, as a criminal justice major and psychology minor. I learn from professors who are retired forensics, corrections, and probation officers, as well as those who have worked as FBI, ATF, and DEA agents. Every single class I get to hear stories of their bravery and how they have saved numerous lives.
This summer, I have the honor of continuing to hear, read, and investigate countless stories of the heroes awarded the Carnegie Medal. Although they are not the typical law enforcement stories I am used to, these people somehow impact me more because of how they rose to action even when they were not expected to. I believe that is what truly defines a hero. The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission does an amazing job of honoring individuals who have risked their lives for the sake of others. Their acts of courage deserve all the recognition in the world and more. Hearing their stories inspires me and continues to light the fire in me that strives to help others.