Carnegie honors the nation’s heroes

If the day’s news is enough to make you question the decency and sanity of humans, then the Carnegie Foundation couldn’t have picked a better day to release its list of Carnegie Heroes.

The award honors those “who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.” Many of the acts are similar to the one performed by a Woodbury man Sunday night when he pulled another motorist from a burning vehicle.

The Carnegie Heroes include a Minnesota man, Jose Alvarado, who saved two people from a burning car in Kandiyohi County after it hit the ditch and caught fire. Alvarado survived.

Five of the honorees are dead. Here are their stories, as written by Carnegie.

Kenneth Brandon Cowart
Denison, Texas

Photo: Kenneth Cowart Facebook page.

Kenneth Brandon Cowart died attempting to save two boys from drowning, Cartwright, Oklahoma, June 30, 2012. The boys, aged 13 and 11, were wading in the Red River below a hydroelectric and flood-control dam after a warning from the dam that water was to be released from Lake Texoma into the river. Upon release, the water rose quickly and became turbulent and swift, trapping the boys at a point about 100 feet from the nearer bank.

Cowart, 38, food preparer, who was not in the boys’ party, was fishing from that bank. He entered the water and moved toward the boys but also became trapped by the rough water conditions. Firefighters arrived. One of them, tethered by line, waded into the river and rescued the younger boy, the older boy making it to safety on his own. Cowart submerged about then. His body was recovered from the river about two hours later. He had drowned.

Mitchell L. McLean
North Wilkesboro, North Carolina
mccleanMitchell L. McLean died after attempting to save Maryanne Galway and others from drowning, Sunset Beach, North Carolina, July 3, 2013. While swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, Galway, 55, and several others were caught by a strong rip current that took them farther from shore. Her husband supported her as he shouted for help.

In another party, McLean, 54, chief district court judge, had just arrived at the beach. He and his wife joined others in entering the surf in rescue attempts, but his wife returned to shore after struggling against the high waves. Galway was returned to the beach by one of the rescuers as others retrieved her husband and McLean, who had been overcome by conditions. Unconscious, all three were taken to the hospital, where Galway and McLean were pronounced dead. Galway’s husband recovered.

Paul F. Frontiero III
Nashua, New Hampshire
frontieroPaul F. Frontiero III died rescuing Kathryn A. Libby from assault, Nashua, New Hampshire, October 9, 2011. At night, a man armed with a knife exited an automobile that stopped in front of the house where Libby, 29, and others lived. Libby and others were outside the house when the man confronted them in a menacing fashion, and he stabbed Libby repeatedly when she intervened between him and one of her housemates.

Another housemate, Frontiero, 27, emergency medical technician, immediately responded from the house, rushed the assailant, and fought against him, freeing Libby. The assailant stabbed Frontiero repeatedly about the arms and torso before fleeing in the car. Frontiero collapsed to the ground, mortally wounded. Libby required hospital treatment for her wounds, from which she recovered. (News story)

Danny Nash
Lafayette, Tennessee
nashDanny Nash died attempting to save Robert E. and Barbara A. Solomon and Willa A. Crockarell from burning, Lafayette, Tennessee, March 3, 2013. Robert, 83, and his wife, Barbara, 72, and her sister, Crockarell, 66, were inside their one-story home after fire erupted in a room at the back of the structure.

Their neighbor, Nash, 55, assistant supervisor, was returning home and saw the flames. After attempting to enter the house through its front door, which was locked, Nash tried a side door, but it too was locked. He forced it open and entered. From outside the house, he was seen guiding Barbara and Robert toward the front door and then proceeding to the end of the house that contained the bedrooms. Flames grew quickly.

Firefighters responded shortly and found Robert and Barbara on the floor of the living room near the front door. They removed them from the house, but attempts to revive them were unsuccessful. Deteriorating conditions delayed the search for Crockarell and Nash, whose bodies were found in the basement of the structure, after it had collapsed. Nash had died of smoke inhalation. (News story)