The 2019-2020 Hero Fund biennial report is available online.
The report contains accounts of the 140 heroic acts awarded during the past two years including the extraordinary actions of 23 individuals who died trying to save others. Among those was Fusako M. Petrus, the Hero Fund’s oldest hero, who died saving her friend from sexual assault. Petrus and the other 139 other ordinary citizens recognized in this report were awarded the Carnegie Medal.
“The Hero Fund publishes these reports periodically at Andrew Carnegie’s direction,” Commission Chair Mark Laskow says in the report’s preface, “We hope that as you review these acts, you will feel how momentous each of these events was to both rescuer and victim. Our goal is to share these stories and the sense of their importance both with you and the wider world.”
To date, the Hero Fund has considered more than 91,000 nominated heroic acts and by the end of 2020, 10,202 were selected for recognition. Historically, 20 percent of the awards were to those who lost their lives in rescue attempts, exemplifying the scripture verse that appears on every medal: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
In addition to the medal, each of the heroes or their survivors received a financial grant and became eligible for other benefits from the Hero Fund, including scholarship aid, ongoing assistance, and death benefits. More than $42 million in such grants has been awarded by the Commission since its inception, in keeping with Carnegie’s wish that “if the hero is injured in his bold attempt to serve or save his fellows, he and those dependent upon him should not suffer pecuniarily.”?