PITTSBURGH – A Colorado physician who was fatally shot while trying to help his neighbor after she was wounded in a domestic shooting is one of 19 people being honored with Carnegie medals for heroism.
The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, based in Pittsburgh, announced the winners Monday.
Dr. Kenneth R. Atkinson , 65, ran out of his Centennial home when he heard a neighbor shooting at his wife and another woman, whose home his wife had run to for cover on April 4, 2016. As Atkinson kneeled to attend to his wounded neighbor and called 911, he was shot by the suspect in the leg, and then fatally shot as he tried to take cover behind a vehicle. The shooting suspect, Kevin Lee Lyons, pleaded not guilty in March to 14 charges, including first-degree murder, and is awaiting trial on related charges that he wounded his wife and the other woman and fired shots at an Arapahoe County sheriff’s deputy.
The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission was endowed and founded by the late steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who was inspired by stories of heroism during a coal mine disaster that killed 181 people, including a miner and an engineer, who died trying to rescue others.
The commission investigates stories of heroism and awards medals and cash several times a year. It has given away $39.1 million to 9,953 awardees or their families since 1904.
Three others honored Monday died in rescue attempts, including Sean C. Randles , 49, of Las Vegas. He died on May 28, 2016, when he tried to save a hiker from falling over a 50-foot cliff when she slipped in a stream at the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Randles was near the edge of the stream and grabbed the woman’s hand in an attempt to save her, before both fell to their deaths.
Other winners announced Monday, with rescues taking place in the hometown of each winner unless otherwise noted:
– Stephanie Melinda Marino , 35, of Manteca, California, who saved a 27-year-old man from being struck by a train when his vehicle crashed down onto railroad tracks in June 2016.
– Scott B. Keller , 41, of Tecumseh, Michigan, who saved a 7-year-old boy from burning in a townhouse fire in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, in July 2016.
– Robert Sunkel , 25, and Linda Nolan , 45, both of Vero Beach, Florida, who saved a 58-year-old woman from burning after her vehicle collided with a tanker truck in March 2016.
– Robbie Goering-Jensen , 49, of Ashland, Nebraska, saved a 57-year-old man who uses a wheelchair and his 83-year-old mother from burning in a house fire in Omaha, Nebraska, in December 2015.
– Brian G. Bergkamp , 24, of Cheney, Kansas, who drowned trying to help a 26-year-old woman whose kayak went over a dam and overturned in Wichita, Kansas, in July 2016. She survived.
– Brett Bailes , 31, C. Fredric Holbeck , 54, and Dennis Wilson , 66, all of Omaha, Nebraska, who saved an unconscious 28-year-old man from a burning car that was struck by a pickup in February 2016.
– David Blauzvern , 23, of Roslyn Heights, New York; Gary J. Messina , 56, of West Islip, New York; and John J. Green III , 29, of New York City; who saved a man from drowning in the East River in June 2016.
– Louis Daniel Scharold , 72, of Alexandria, Kentucky, who rescued a 48-year-old man from a truck near another burning vehicle that had crashed into it in Grants Lick, Kentucky, in April 2016.
– Dennis Joseph Michel , 46, of Ankeny, Iowa, who drowned helping others try to save a 40-year-old man from drowning in the Lake of the Ozarks in Camdenton, Missouri, in August 2016.
– Robert Conant , 29, of Stoney Creek, Ontario, who helped save a 23-year-old man from falling down the wall of a park ravine in Oakville, Ontario, in April 2015.
– John David Smith , 47, of Snoqualmie Pass, Washington, who saved a 70-year-old woman from burning after her vehicle was struck from behind by another vehicle in July 2016.
– Victor M. Ortiz , 41, of Union, New Jersey, who saved a man who fell between the tracks of a commuter train approaching at 60 mph in Secaucus, New Jersey, in August 2016.