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Fifteen Receive Carnegie Medals for Heroism

April 29, 1985

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ A 63-year-old sergeant-at-arms to the Quebec National Assembly who talked a gunman into surrendering last May is among 15 Americans and Canadians awarded Carnegie Medals for heroism today.

Rene M. Jalbert persuaded the gunman, who was armed with two submachine guns and a pistol, into releasing four hostages and eventually into surrendering to police, according to the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission of Pittsburgh. Three people were killed and 13 wounded in the attack.

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission has honored 6,907 people since its founding 81 years ago by industrialist Andrew Carnegie. Each recipient or his family is given $2,500 cash and a medal.

Of those honored, three died while trying to save another’s life. They were:

- Raimie Finn, 12, who tried to help another student escape from a school bus that had stalled on a railroad track in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Sept. 27, 1984. Both she and the other student were killed.

- Kelly Elwood Sluss, 49, a remodeler who waded into the Gulf of Mexico off Dunedin, Fla., on June 25, 1984, to aid a 5-year-old girl caught in an undercurrent. He supported her until others could arrive, but lost consciousness and could not be revived.

- Claude Ray Williams, 18, a high school student who tried to help a man who had plunged through the ice on a pond in San Marcos, Texas, on Jan. 1, 1984, but himself fell through the ice. Both drowned.

Also honored were:

- Jerry W. Ashcraft, 35, of Pine Bluff, Ark., a train engineer who hung from the front of the train to push three boys out of its path as the train traveled at about 5 miles per hour through Camden, Ark., on May 20, 1984. He was injured when he lost his balance and fell in front of the train as he threw a fourth youth to safety.

- Thomas Lee Chasen, 33, of Fredericksburg, Va., a railroad ticket clerk who narrowly missed being hit by a train in Alexandria, Va., on July 22, 1984, as he tried to push another man from the train’s path.

- Robert D. Hesse, 59, of Pinellas Park, Fla., a writer who rescued a woman from a tidal current in the Gulf of Mexico off of Madeira Beach, Fla., on Sept. 16, 1984.

- Matthew Pinelli, 32, of St. Petersburg, Fla., a salesman who pulled a man froma tidal current in the Gulf of Mexico off of Madeira Beach, Fla., on Sept. 16, 1984.

- Dennis J. Meyers, 32, of Leipsic, Ohio, a truck driver who pulled an unconscious man from a burning tractor-trailer cab in Benton, Ill., on Jan. 13, 1984.

- Harold F. Perry, 36, of Bluff City, Tenn., a machine operator who pulled two people to safety from the Holston River in Bluff City on Aug. 27, 1983.

- John M. Walker, Jr., 62, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., a disabled exterminator, who, despite having a heart condition, beat into submission a dog that had attacked an 8-year-old neighbor boy on Oct. 24, 1984.

- Charles T. Walt, 47, of Reedsville, Wis., a service representative, who repeatedly reentered a below-ground manure pit on a farm in Green Bay, Wis., on June 13, 1984, to helpd two men who were overcome by methane in the pit. Walt held their heads out of the manure, himself lapsing in and out of consciousness, until firefighters arrived and pulled all three out.

- Jeffrey R. Wieser, 29, of Davis, Calif., a contractor, and Thomas J. Norsworthy, 18, of Orange, Calif., a cook, who helped pull three people from a burning car in Devore, Calif., on Sept. 3, 1982.

- Victor Zabbo, 23, of Antioch, Calif., a ceramic mold setter who pulled a five-year-old boy and his mother from a swift current in the American River in Folsom, Calif., on Jan. 31, 1984.

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