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Seventeen Americans Honored As Heroes

June 29, 1990

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ More than 100 people saw five men jump a teen-ager, but only James Schmitt jumped in to help.

″Everybody else was standing around watching. I figured the kid needed help,″ said Schmitt, 20, of Philadelphia. He was among 17 Americans honored Thursday by the Carnegie Hero Commission.

More than $18.6 million has been awarded in one-time payments or pensions to 7,460 heroes or their survivors since the commission was founded by Pittsburgh industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1904.

One of those honored Thursday died in a rescue attempt in Louisiana.

Schmitt, a sophomore at La Salle University, said he was waiting for his friend Bryan Moshinski, 15, outside a high school following a dance on Dec. 1, 1989. About eight young men associated with a rival high school chased and tackled Moshinski, and began beating him as parents and bystanders watched.

″I ran over and started throwing kids off of him,″ Schmitt said. ″I didn’t mean to get involved. I just wanted to make it a fair fight, not five to one.″

The men turned from Moshinski and beat Schmitt before fleeing. Schmitt was knocked out with a baseball bat, and was hospitalized in critical condition with skull fractures, fractured ribs and a collapsed right lung. He also lost his vision in his right eye.

Moshinski was bruised and suffered a slight concussion.

Also recognized Thursday were:

-Clyde E. Smith, 36, of Confluence, Pa., who waded through icy water flooding a road to rescue a woman trapped in her car in Ursina, Pa., on Dec. 31, 1989.

-Christopher Ferland, 16, of Riverside, R.I., and Matthew T. Silvia, 17, of North Smithfield, R.I., who saved a 15-year-old girl swept away by a large wave in the Atlantic Ocean in Narragansett, R.I., on May 7, 1989.

-Roger Kujawa, 32, and Kerry R. Ramey, 38, both of Peoria, Ill., who helped rescue a sheriff’s deputy from his burning patrol car following an accident in Edwards, Ill., on Sept. 18, 1989.

-John S. Montegna, 43, of Bend, Ore., who saved a 9-year-old girl who had fallen into the rough, cold water of the Deschutes River in Maupin, Ore., on May 21, 1989.

-Darwin Nissen, 40, of Billings, Mont., who pulled a man who was on fire from his burning truck following a highway accident in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on April 3, 1989.

-Elbon J. Ducote, 62, of Bunkie, La., who died trying to save an 8-year-old boy from drowning in a branch of the Old River in Bunkie on July 21, 1989. The boy was rescued by others.

-James Bowman, 41, of Marysville, Calif., who rescued two women from a burning mobile home in Marysville on May 17, 1989.

-Ceasar Rodriguez, 23, of Los Angeles, who rescued a youth being assaulted by a gang in Los Angeles on Jan. 27, 1989.

-Christine Duemler, 33, of Monroe, Wis., who saved a woman in a runaway automobile in Madison, Wis., on June 13, 1988.

-William M. Arndt, 26, of Middlebury, Conn., who saved a man trapped in a burning car in Middlebury on April 27, 1989.

-Lawrence J. Shiner, 41, of Shorewood, Ill., who rescued a woman trapped in a burning minibus following a highway accident in Minooka, Ill, on Oct. 24, 1989.

-Gary D. Knight, 40, of Medford, Ore., who rescued a man in an apartment fire in Portland, Ore., on May 25, 1989.

-Glenn H. Peterson, 34, of Marquette, Mich., who crawled into a smoke- filled, burning home and rescued a woman in Harvey, Mich., on Sept. 12, 1989.

-Earnest Bleach, 23, of Savannah, Ga., who tried to save a 9-year-old boy carried away from his raft by a tide in the Skidaway River in Savannah on June 30, 1989.

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