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For medal winner, heroism is family trait

Pat Mott’s father was awarded a Carnegie Medal more than 80 years ago for trying to save a boy from drowning. Now Mott, a retired logger in Rathdrum, is a Carnegie hero himself.

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission announced Thursday that Mott is one of its newest medal recipients. He was honored for attempting to save a 74-year-old man from drowning last year in the icy waters of Lower Twin Lake, near where Mott lives with his wife, Cathie.

“I’m thrilled. That’s about all I can say,” said Mott, a bus driver for Rathdrum schools. “I’m proud to receive it.”

A medal with his name on it will arrive in several weeks. Mott also received a check for $4,000 from the Carnegie fund. He said he hasn’t decided how to spend the money.

“The missus, she’ll keep me straight on it,” he joked.

Cathie Mott said, “He said something about a four-wheeler, but I don’t know if that’s what he’s going to do with it.”

Mott was recognized for his quick action Feb. 27, 2005. Henry Scheller, of Coeur d’Alene, was ice fishing when he broke through and plunged into the water about 700 feet from shore.

Mott, 65, was working outside when he heard the man yelling for help.

His wife called rescue workers; he assembled rope and a dinghy and took to the ice, pushing the boat toward Scheller.

When Mott was about 10 feet away, he also crashed through the ice and couldn’t get out. Firefighters with the Northern Lakes Fire District soon arrived and pulled him, then Scheller, from the frigid water. Scheller, who was in the water as long as 20 minutes, received medical attention; Mott was not hurt.

Scheller declined to comment Thursday.

Mott’s wife teamed with his brother, John Mott, of Bayview, to nominate him for the award.

John Mott still has the Carnegie medal their father received for trying to save a drowning boy near Ione, Wash., in June 1922.

Henry Herschel Mott, 26, was working on a ferry on the Pend Oreille River when he jumped into the swift current to attempt to rescue a 17-year-old boy who was trying to reach two other people carried away by the current.

The boy and the people he tried to save drowned; Mott, exhausted from his rescue attempt, survived.

Henry Mott also received a cash award of $900 – enough to buy a home back in ‘22, the family always said.

The Carnegie Hero Fund was established to recognize those who perform acts of heroism in civilian life and to provide financial aid for those disabled, and the dependents of those killed, while helping others.

Nearly 9,000 people have been given Carnegie medals since the Pittsburgh-based fund’s inception in 1904.

Industrialist Andrew Carnegie started the hero fund in 1904 after being inspired by rescue stories from a mine disaster that killed 181 people.