At its annual meeting on June 21, 2022, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission elected President Eric P. Zahren to serve as the Commission’s chair, effective immediately. Mr. Zahren, who will remain president of the Hero Fund Commission, replaces Mark Laskow as chair.
Mr. Laskow became the head of the Commission in December 2001 as president (2001 to 2014) and then chair (2014-2022). The change in Commission leadership is the first in more than 20 years, and Mr. Zahren becomes only the eighth leader of the Commission in its 118-year history. Mr. Laskow, who will remain a member of the Commission, was unanimously elected Chair Emeritus, the first to hold the title.
Mr. Laskow was elected to the Commission in 1992. He oversaw the Commission’s centennial observance in 2004, largely conceived the Carnegie Hero Funds World Committee, on which he served as co-chair, and led the Hero Fund in its celebration of 10,000 heroes in 2018. During his years of service, 2,612 Carnegie Medals have been awarded to individuals who risked death or severe injury to save the lives of others.
Mr. Zahren joined the Commission board in 2015 following a 25-year federal government career as a member of the U.S. Secret Service. He became the Commission’s Executive Director in 2016 and President in 2017.
The Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, a private operating foundation, awards the Carnegie Medal to civilians who enter extraordinary danger while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. Throughout the 118 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, almost $44 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance to recipients of the Carnegie Medal or their families.