Two Locals Named Carnegie Heroes

Two local folks have received Carnegie Medals for heroism, the Daily Progress reports. In 1904, Andrew Carnegie established the Hero Fund, which rewards any civilian who voluntarily risks his lives while attempting to save the life of another. In the 108 years since, they have given out 9,000 medals and $32M in grants, 20% posthumously. Twenty-one such awards were announced today, including one for Abigail R. Zuehlke, of Earlysville, and one for Charles V. Worden, of North Garden.

Of Zuehlke, Carnegie explains:

Abigail R. Zuehlke helped to save Brandon and Daniel Santiago from drowning, Hunting Island, South Carolina, July 8, 2011. Swimming in the Atlantic Ocean off a state park beach, Brandon, 18, and his brother, Daniel, 20, were caught in a rip current that prevented their returning to shore. In another party, Zuehlke, 30, homemaker, had just arrived at the beach and was alerted to the swimmers’ plight by those on shore. She entered the water and waded and swam to Brandon, who was about 300 feet out. Finding him nearly exhausted, Zuehlke hooked him by the arm and started back toward shore, having to swim against the current while towing him. When she was about halfway back, she met up with a man who had entered the surf and turned Brandon over to him. As the man took Brandon to safety, Zuehlke turned and swam out to Daniel, guided by those on the beach. Reaching him at a point also about 300 feet from shore, Zuehlke grasped him and started back toward the beach. A responding park ranger who had entered the surf took Daniel from her, and all three returned to the beach. Brandon and Daniel were treated at the scene, with Brandon then requiring overnight hospitalization. He recovered.

And of Warden:

Charles V. Worden saved Adrian G. Rowe from drowning, Waynesboro, Virginia, April 16, 2011. Adrian, 9, and two others were attempting to walk across a low water crossing that was inundated to a depth of about 2.5 feet by surging floodwaters of a creek. The rushing water forced them against a rail that extended along the edge of the crossing. A passing motorist, Worden, 44, maintenance engineer, saw them and stopped at the scene. Shouting for them to return, Worden waded through the flooded area and onto the near end of the crossing. Reaching Adrian, he grasped the boy and put him under an arm as he then tried to secure the others. They were washed from his grasp and carried downstream. Worden waded from the floodwater with Adrian to safety and then ran after the others, but they submerged and drowned, their bodies recovered later.

Money does not accompany the medal but, instead, recipients become eligible for grants, scholarships, and general continuing aid, all directly from the Carnegie Hero Fund. I recommend reading through profiles of some of the awardees—they’re just amazing stories of heroism.

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