Carnegie medals honor 20 who risked their lives

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PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Two men who helped save six people from drowning in New York City during Superstorm Sandy are among the 20 people honored Friday by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission with medals for their heroism.

The awards include recognition for Michael T. McDonnell and Dylan Patrick Smith, who worked together to save people in Rockaway Beach in Queen during the October 2012 storm. As their neighborhood flooded with more than 5 feet of water, the 51-year-old McDonnell and 22-year-old Smith created a rescue line to help people, and Smith used his surfboard to paddle to those in distress.

Smith died two months later in a surfing accident in Puerto Rico while he was on vacation.

Other winners included John Bigwood of Fair Oaks, Calif. In February 2012, Bigwood confronted a gunman in Sacramento who had killed a man and was threatening Glenda J. Gully, 49. Bigwood, 57, put himself between the gunman and Gully, and persuaded the assailant to leave the building.

Richard Brian Andrade of Colorado Springs, Colo., won a medal for saving Joseph W. Doyle from electrocution in March 2012. Andrade, 32, saw that Doyle was frozen in place by a live 240-volt electrical line at a jobsite. Andrade shook Doyle, also 32, free from the conduit, suffering an electrical burn.

Other medal winners were from Arizona, Connecticut, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio and Texas.

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, based in Pittsburgh, says its mission is to recognize people who perform heroic acts in civilian life and to provide financial help to those disabled, or to the dependents of those killed, by their heroism.

Steel baron Andrew Carnegie was inspired to start the fund after hearing rescue stories from a mine disaster that killed 181 people.

Carnegie medalists or their heirs receive financial grants approved by the commission. More than $35 million has been awarded to 9,653 Carnegie Heroes since the fund's inception in 1904.

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Online:

http://carnegiehero.org/