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Burned Girl Honored As Carnegie Hero

September 11, 1986

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ A badly burned 11-year-old South Carolina girl, who needs surgery her family can’t afford, was honored Thursday by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission for entering flames to save her younger sister.

The commission, which also recognized 19 other people from 13 states and one Canadian province for heroism, said Leatrice Harrison of Greenwood, S.C., awakened her sister, Jametta, then 3, and took two small cousins outside to safety when their grandmother’s house burned Feb. 1, 1985.

When she realized that Jametta had not come out, Leatrice, then 10, returned to the bedroom and found the child surrounded by flames. She entered the fire and carried Jametta outside.

Both sustained second- and third-degree burns. Jametta recovered more completely than her older sister, their mother, Loretta, 27, said Thursday.

″Leatrice had surgery in February, but she’s got to go back through it again,″ said Ms. Harrison.

The operation restored some use of Leatrice’s arms, which were immobile from scarring, she said. But keloid scars, caused by excess growth of tissue, are limiting her recovery.

″We don’t have a good solution to that problem,″ although another attempt will be made, said the girl’s surgeon, Dr. Barry Bishop of Greenville, S.C.

Bishop said he would cooperate with the family in seeing that Leatrice gets a second operation regardless of the family’s finances.

The state Crippled Children’s Clinic financed the first operation, he said. Ms. Harrison said the treatment cost $34,000. The state agency ″has about run out of money,″ Bishop said.

The hero fund, established in 1904 by industrialist Andrew Carnegie, awarded each recipient $2,500. It sometimes provides continuing assistance, but spokesman Walter Rutkowski said no decision has been made about providing further funds to any of the latest award recipients.

The commission also awarded $20,000 to the West Virginia Recovery Foundation in honor of the people who risked and sacrificed their lives trying to save others in catastrophic flooding in November 1985.

Also recognized as heroes Thursday were:

- Samuel C. Adair, 37, of Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada, who crawled into a burning home in Sudbury on Jan. 4, 1985, and saved Neil A. MacKay, 76.

- Joseph A. Callicott, 64, of Gallion, Ala., who died when a speeding car struck him as he pushed David S. Schlemeyer, 25, out of its way in Midland, Texas, on Aug. 3, 1984.

- Forrest W. Chambers, 51, of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind., drowned saving Luisa Marquez, 9, in the Atlantic Ocean at Cape Canaveral on March 17, 1985.

- Paul A. Christensen, 52, of Nesconset, N.Y., who saved Kathleen M. Gautier, 22, from her wrecked and burning station wagon in Nesconset on Jan. 15, 1985.

- David M. Enyeart, 30, of Lynnwood, Wash., climbed through a window of a burning home and rescued James K. Bellman, 39, in Lynwood on Nov. 5, 1984.

- Mark A. Foss, 14, of Warrenville, Ill., who drowned while saving a companion, Jeanice Cooper, 12, in Lake Michigan on July 4, 1985.

- John A. Hild Jr., 28, of Baltimore, Kevin S. Stroble, 26, of Joppatowne, Md., and Kenneth J. Wingo, 38, of Phoenix, Md., who pulled Mary L. McPherson, 27, of Fallston, Md., from her burning car in Fallston on Aug. 7, 1985. The woman, who was pregnant, recovered and gave birth to a healthy boy a month later.

- Freddie M. Hill Jr., 14, of Albany, Ga., who dived into swollen Flint River and rescued a fellow Boy Scout, Johnnie Bryant Jr., 14, on June 28, 1983.

- Maura Jane Isbell, 27, of Stamford, Conn., who crawled through a smoky hallway to reach Hugh Cunningham, 83, in his apartment and carry him to safety Nov. 12, 1985.

- Donald E. Kidder, 20, of Edgerton, Wis., who died in a futile attempt to save a fellow duck hunter, Dale A. Hanson, 49, from drowning on Lake Koshkonong on Nov 4, 1984.

- Morris A. Neeley, 49, Gregory W. Dickens, 16, both of Winona, Texas, and James D. Richardson, 20, of Tyler, Texas, who risked their lives in an attempt to save Anthony W. Lamb, 24, from a sewer where he passed out May 19, 1985.

Neeley and Dickens also passed out in the sewer and were rescued by Richardson, who entered the shaft three times. Lamb died.

- Edward Priestner Jr., 25, of Midland Park, N.Y., and Rita Sue Shively, 34, of Lake Mary, Fla., who tried to save Ezzel Daniels Jr., Daren E. Daniels and Ezzel Daniels Sr. from drowning in the Wekiva River, Sanford, Fla., on July 25, 1985. All three family members drowned as well as Priestner. Shively survived.

- James B. Salyer, 46, of Falcon, Ky., and James S. Clevenger, 44, of Salyersville, Ky., who both died trying to save Farmer Howard, 44, from suffocating in a sewer shaft where he had been working in Salyersville on Oct. 18, 1984. Howard also died.

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