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Teen-Age Hero Saved Best Friend From Vicious Dog

November 3, 1989

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ A 14-year-old Indiana boy who saved his best friend from an attacking Rottweiler dog was among 18 people recognized Thursday by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.

″Everyone’s saying, ‘You’re a hero.’ So I guess I am,″ Ryan Eberhard said in a telephone interview from school in Fort Wayne, Ind. ″But I’m trying to think I’m not. I just did it because my friend was in danger, not because I wanted to be a hero.″

The eighth-grader is among 7,385 Americans and Canadians honored by the commission since its founding by Pittsburgh industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1904. More than $18.1 million has been awarded in one-time payments and pensions to the heroes or their survivors.

In a rare move, the commission designated $50,000 in grants to relief agencies in the earthquake-ravaged San Francisco Bay area and South Carolina, which bore the brunt of Hurricane Hugo.

Ryan, the youngest hero recognized Thursday, was at home Jan. 28 when he heard screaming across the street. The dog had broken its chain and was attacking Anthony J. Quinn, 13.

Ryan ran over and yelled at the dog, which turned on him.

″It started biting me. I didn’t even really know I’d got bitten until later,″ Ryan recalled.

Anthony managed to crawl inside his family’s home, and Ryan ran to his own house with the 94-pound dog hanging from his arm.

″I swung it around, and it fell on its back and gave me a chance to get in the house,″ said Ryan, a tackle for his football team who weighs 160 pounds and is about 5-foot-10.

Anthony was hospitalized for two days and required surgery for bites to his arm, shoulder, back and thigh. Ryan was treated for bites to his right arm and chest. The dog was destroyed.

″In the hospital, he said, ‘Thank you, Ryan. You saved my life.’ That means a lot,″ Ryan said. ″His mom said if I ever have any problems or anything, he’ll help you out. So it really makes me feel great.″

Also recognized Thursday were 14 other Americans and three Canadians:

-Lynn Lee Lewis Porter, 27, of Clinton, Miss., jumped into a moving car whose driver had suffered a heart attack in Jackson, Miss., on Feb. 14. The man recovered.

-Anthony G. Falzo, 35, a road freight conductor from Bloomfield, N.J., jumped off his moving train to pull two toddlers off railroad tracks in Ramsey, N.J., on May 1.

-Kenneth R. Falls, 31, of Kings Mountain, N.C., saved a man from his burning home in Bessemer City, N.C., on Sept. 5, 1988.

-Robert L. Tighe, 31, a bus driver from Shreveport, La., rescued a man from his burning car in Tyler, Texas, on Jan. 24.

-Joel L. Warren, 24, of Ridgecrest, Calif., saved a 70-year-old neighbor from the man’s burning mobile home on Nov. 17, 1988.

-Paul Joseph Pelky, 23, of Kaukauna, Wis., saved a 6-month-old boy from a neighbor’s burning apartment in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Feb. 2.

-Ronald and Mary McMahon, of Philadelphia, fought off a gunman who opened fire on a woman and her 6-year-old daughter in Philadelphia on March 29, 1988. The woman died, but her daughter recovered.

-Theodore Williams Jr., 18, of Burns Lake, British Columbia, saved a 3- year-old boy from a burning house in Burns Lake on May 14, 1987.

-Gregory Dean Morrow, 39, of East Flat Rock, N.C., crawled into a burning house to rescue a 70-year-old woman in Hendersonville, N.C., on May 13.

-Robert Allen Infussi, 28, of Providence, R.I., used a tire iron to fight off a man with a knife who had attacked another man depositing money in a Providence bank after closing hours on Nov. 14, 1988.

-Dominik Paille, 18, of Richibucto Village near Bedec, New Brunswick, rescued a woman and her 3-year-old daughter from their burning apartment in Richibucto Village on Feb. 16.

-Richard E. Baas, 31, of Mokena, Ill., saved a 1-year-old boy from his family’s burning home on Dec. 28, 1988.

-Gerald M. Fulmer, 46, of San Diego, pulled a friend from a burning car in Ocotillo Wells, Calif., on Nov. 26, 1988.

-Frank A. Manente, 34, of Alpena, Mich., saved three children from their burning home in Alpena on June 15.

-Edward D. Slivinski, 48, of London, Ontario, pushed a man off railroad tracks within seconds of a passing freight train in London on Oct. 29, 1988.

-Gary Wheeler Jr., 61, of New Bern, N.C., saved a 4-year-old boy from his family’s burning home in New Bern on Feb. 15, 1988.

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