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Carnegie Commission Honors 17 for Heroism

March 5, 1992

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ A young man who crawled across a frozen lake to save two boys who had fallen through the ice was one of 17 people cited for heroism Thursday by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.

″It’s kind of embarrassing,″ said Matthew Kupec of North Royalton, Ohio. ″I don’t think it’s as big a deal as everybody else does.″

The commission has honored 7,621 people in the United States and Canada since it was founded in 1904 by Pittsburgh industrialist Andrew Carnegie. The heroes are recognized for trying to save lives while risking their own.

Kupec, a 19-year-old Purdue University student, was on the shore of Hinckley Lake in Hinckley, Ohio, on March 16, 1991, when Jonathan Knoll, 12, and David Weikle, 10, both of North Royalton, fell through the ice.

Kupec grabbed a branch and crawled on his belly about 40 feet to reach the boys, who were thrashing in the water. Kupec fell through the ice when the boys, clinging to the branch, pulled themselves out of the water.

The boys crawled to shore, and Kupec broke his way through the ice until he reached the lake’s edge.

Kupec said he’s glad he could help, but he never thought his actions were heroic.

″I came home, and I was all wet, and my mom said, ‘What happened?’ I said, ‘Some kids fell through the ice and I saved them.’ That was it,″ he said.

Other actions recognized by the commission:

-Michael Tromp, 30, of Buford, Ga., helped save a neighbor from his burning mobile home on Feb. 12, 1991.

-Franklin Simon, 36, of Doylestown rescued a 63-year-old woman being assaulted by her son on April 20, 1990. Simon pushed the son’s gun away just before it fired, and the bullet lodged in Simon’s tennis shoe.

-Cory Neufeld, 19, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, helped save a 12-year-old girl who fell in the Red River near the St. Andrews Lock and Dam in Lockport, Manitoba, on June 17, 1990.

-Cheryl Iben, 36, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, crawled through smoke to rescue a 4-year-old boy from his family’s burning house in Cedar Rapids on Jan. 11, 1991.

-George Brazeale, 35, and Max E. Lee, 66, both of Lebanon, Ore., helped save a 70-year-old neighbor from her burning home on Feb. 6, 1991.

-Robert Tice, 39, of Cambridge, Ohio, rescued a 3-year-old neighbor from a bedroom in the boy’s burning home on Dec. 31, 1990.

-Guadalupe Moreno, 40, of Hawthorne, Calif., was baby-sitting when she rescued a year-old girl from her family’s burning house in Manhattan Beach, Calif., on Dec. 27, 1990.

-Patrick Flanagan, 47, of Fort Benton, Mont., scaled a 300-foot-high butte on the banks of the Missouri River in Fort Benton to save an 8-year-old boy who had fallen on Sept. 11, 1989.

-Marvin De-Von Embry, 16, of Muskegon Heights, Mich., crawled through smoke to save a 3-year-old neighbor from his family’s burning house on Feb. 20, 1991.

-Arthur Calek Jr., 42, of Riverside, Ill., saved a woman who fell onto the tracks as a train approached at a station in Riverside on April 3, 1991.

-Michael Keyser, 19, of Hesperia, Calif., pulled a man from a burning car that had struck a utility pole in Apple Valley, Calif., on Feb. 25, 1990.

-Michael Stewart, 42, of Jacksonville, Fla., saved a man pulled more than 200 feet from shore by a strong current in the Atlantic at Fernandina Beach on Sept. 15, 1990.

-Steve Rogers, 19, of Mount Dora, Fla., saved an 88-year-old man from his burning home in Mount Dora on May 11, 1991.

-Larry Zimmerman, 35, of North Platte, Neb., crawled through smoke and used a rope to pull a neighbor from his burning mobile home in Hopeful, Ga., on Feb. 2, 1991.

-Rudie Burnaman, 40, of Pineville, La., saved two children trapped in an automobile that had gone down an embankment into the Old River in Cypress on May 7, 1991.

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