A family journey culminated on July 8 of 2013 with the placing of one of the Hero Fund’s bronze grave markers on the headstone of the Rev. Ernest Newton, the paternal grandfather of David A. Newton of Pinehurst, N.C. and his sister, Sandra O’Hare, of Columbia Station, Ohio. Newton and his sister had inherited their grandfather’s Carnegie Medal after their mother passed away.
The two traveled to the Johnston, Ohio, Federated United Methodist Church and the Johnston Cemetery, where they met the current pastor—their grandfather was its first pastor—and were given a tour of the building and a history of the church. They saw a plaque that had been installed in the vestibule that relates the story of the Rev. Newton’s sacrifice. That sacrifice was made on August 13, 1925, when their grandfather, who had been playing ball with the boys of the church, entered the lake to help two teenage girls on the outing who were struggling to stay afloat in the lake after stepping into deep water while wading. Another of the girls, Evelyn Marie Wertz, 16, also joined in the rescue attempt, and she too was awarded the medal. All but their grandfather survived. His medal was awarded posthumously in 1926.