AP NEWS
Related topics

20 Honored by Carnegie Hero Commission

June 30, 1989

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Billie Bonds was sitting in a quiet coffee shop in Santa Cruz, Calif., when he heard screaming outside, looked up from his cup of tea and saw a crazed man swinging a machete.

″I ran outside and grabbed the guy,″ he said. ″If I had had time to think about it I don’t know if I would have done it. It’s real hard to catch a swinging machete without getting cut.″

Bonds, 49, of Aptos, Calif., was among 20 Americans and Canadians proclaimed heroes Thursday by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission. Five of those honored died while trying to save someone.

Bonds said instinct prompted him to help rescue Joseph W. Baur on May 20, 1988.

Another bystander, Robert E. Siegel, 38, of Santa Cruz, and Bonds struggled with the assailant and forced him against a parked car.

″I kept yelling, ‘Somebody grab the machete 3/8’ because he had already cut me once and was still trying,″ Bonds said. ″Everybody was bleeding.″

A third man grabbed the machete from the attacker’s hand as Bonds and Siegel held him. Bonds said he never learned the name of the third man.

Bonds and Siegel, who also was awarded a Carnegie Medal for his role in the rescue, both had cut fingers. Baur also was injured and recovered, the commission said.

Thursday’s awards bring to 7,351 the number of Americans and Canadians honored since 1904, when industrialist Andrew Carnegie founded the organization. Awards are announced every few months.

Recipients or their survivors are given $2,500 each and a bronze medal. Some survivors receive pensions as well.

Others honored Thursday were:

-Richard G. Jordan, 42, of Edmonton, Alberta, who helped save a 12-year-old girl and her 9-year-old brother from drowning in the Pacific Ocean at Ucluelet, British Columbia, on July 29, 1987.

-Robert L. Carter, 27, of Milton, Del., who died 12 days after an unsuccessful attempt to save a 7-year-old boy from drowning in the Broadkill River in Milton, Del., on May 10 1988.

-R.A. Mills, 56, of Albany, Ore., who rescued a woman in a burning van on Sept. 16, 1988, in Pistol River, Ore.

-Three Canadians, Robert J. Seymour, 31, of Marion Bridge, Nova Scotia; Michael Skoczen, 21, of Binbrook, Ontario; and Raymond R. Rikic, 26, of Hamilton, Ontario, who saved a man trapped inside a burning station wagon on Oct. 9, 1986, in Stoney Creek, Ontario.

-Joseph N. Otero, 44, of Anaheim, Calif., who helped save a 1-year-old boy from being struck by a train in Buena Park, Calif., on Jan. 19, 1989.

-Warren D. Sarley, 65, of Rochester, N.Y., who saved a 7-year-old boy who fell through the ice on a pond on Jan. 22, 1988, in Greece, N.Y.

-Lee Crawford, 27, of Jackson, Miss., who died in an unsuccessful attempt to save two young children from drowning after the car the youngsters were in rolled into a pond in Edwards, Miss., on May 12, 1988.

-Robert A. Swanson, 44, of Burlington, Iowa, who saved three people from being struck by a barge on the Mississippi River in Burlington on July 26, 1987.

-Steven E. Blake, 21, of Provo, Utah, who died 16 days after he tried to save a man from electrocution Aug. 10, 1988, in Provo, Utah. The man survived but Blake died. David A. Conley, 45, of Salt Lake City was honored for his unsuccessful effort to save Blake.

-David J. Gretkowski, 24, of Burlington, Vt., who saved a 15-year-old girl from drowning in Lake Champlain near Plattsburgh, N.Y., on June 5, 1988.

-Lavina Kekumu, 27, of Nonakuli, Hawaii, who died saving two boys and unsuccessfully attempting to save a third from a burning house in Nanakuli, Hawaii, on Oct. 18, 1988.

-Richard E. Gagnon, 35, of Oxford, Mass., and Stephen W. McInerney, 20, of Lowell, Mass., who saved a woman from a burning car in Burlington, Mass., on July 20, 1988.

-Hat Chi Do, 22, of Hamilton, Ontario, who died trying to save a friend from drowning in the Grand River in Dunnville, Ontario, on July 18, 1988. The friend was later rescued by others.

-Harold L. Taylor, 34, of Indianapolis, who helped save a man who was overcome by toxic fumes in a pit in Indianapolis on Jan. 16, 1988.

AP RADIO
Update hourly