The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission named 22 individuals as recipients of the 2013 Carnegie Medal, among them truck driver Michael F. Schiotis, the 2011 recipient of the Goodyear Highway Hero Award. The Carnegie Medal is given throughout the United States and Canada to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. Four of the awardees died in the performance of their heroic acts.
Schiotis rescued Anna H. Trently from assault, Tobyhanna, PA, Nov. 1, 2011. Trently, 41, was being pursued by an armed man as she drove on an interstate highway at night. At one point, the man pulled his car beside hers and shot out the window of the front passenger door.
As Trently then attempted to make a U-turn on the highway, the man approached her car on foot, opened its driver’s door, and pointed a gun at her. He attempted to shoot her, but when the gun malfunctioned, he struck her in the head with it.
Meanwhile, Schiotis, 44, truck driver, was approaching the scene, slowing his tractor-trailer to a stop for what he thought was a traffic accident. Bloodied, Trently ran toward his rig, followed by the assailant. She pounded on its driver’s door and screamed for help. Schiotis jumped from the cab, grasped Trently, and positioned himself between her and the assailant.
The trucker kept the assailant at bay as Trently climbed into the cab. Turning his back to the assailant, Schiotis followed her. He drove from the scene and called police, who told him to respond to a truck stop five miles ahead. Schiotis did so, but on finding that the assailant was following in his vehicle, Schiotis continued on the highway, driving such as to block him. Police caught up to them seven miles beyond the truck stop and apprehended the assailant. Trently required hospitalization for treatment of her injuries, and she recovered.
The Carnegie heroes announced last week bring to 9,598 the number of awards made since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission President Mark Laskow stated that each of the awardees or their survivors will also receive a financial grant. Throughout the 109 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, more than $35 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.