PITTSBURGH — A Sandy man who jumped into the fast-moving and cold Provo River in an attempt to save a woman and her daughter in 2017 is one of 16 people being honored with Carnegie medals for heroism.
The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, based in Pittsburgh, announced the winners on Thursday.
Sean Thayne died on May 29, 2017, trying to save a 4-year-old girl and her mother from drowning after they were swept downstream in the Provo River.
Brenda Nalleli DeDios, 34, of West Jordan, had been sitting with her two daughters on the rocks at the end of a footbridge along the bank of the Provo River near Bridal Veil Falls. London DeDios either slipped or stumbled into the river while on the rocks, officials reported.
The mother immediately jumped in after her daughter. Five bystanders, all males who saw what had happened, also jumped into the river, including Thayne.
Four of the adults got out of the water about 150 yards downriver, where Thayne and DeDios were last seen. They were pulled out of the water by police about 3 miles downstream near the Murdock Diversion Dam. Both were unconscious or not breathing at that point and pronounced dead a short time later. The girl's body was recovered a day later.
Another winner includes a receptionist who used a child's booster seat to fight off a pit bull that was attacking a 12-year-old boy was also named a hero.
Ana Ramirez was driving home with her 15-year-old daughter on April 18, 2017 2017, when she rounded a corner and saw Jose Ramos being attacked by two 65-pound dogs. The boy had been taking his husky for a walk on a leash when a male and female pit bull pounced.
Ramirez honked her horn, which caused the female dog to flee but the male continued its attack on Jose and his dog. She grabbed a child's booster seat out of her car and ran toward the pit bull and struck it. The animal latched onto her wrist and she hit it again with the booster seat, causing it to finally flee. She escorted Jose home.
She told The Modesto Bee newspaper she wasn't afraid.
"No, I was just mad; I guess my anger took over," Ramirez told the newspaper at the time. "My reaction was to defend."
She and Jose were both treated for bite wounds and recovered.
The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission was founded and endowed by the late steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who was inspired by stories of heroism during a coal mine disaster that killed 181 people, including a miner and an engineer, who died trying to rescue others.
The commission investigates stories of heroism and awards medals and cash several times a year. It has given away $40.4 million to 10,044 awardees or their families since 1904.
Four of those honored Thursday died in rescue attempts, including 39-year-old Jason Sigelow, of Rochester, New York, who led a rescue of a 9-year-old boy struggling in deep water in Lake Ontario, but drowned. Another man in that rescue, Philip Orzech, is also being honored with a Carnegie medal. He managed to grab the boy.
Other winners announced Thursday include:
• Liam Bernard of Chapel Island, Nova Scotia, saved Ralph Chrisman from a truck crash on a rural highway on Sept. 16, 2016. He pulled Chrisman from the burning truck, removing the dashboard despite the flames.
• Blake Huff and Benjamin Hawkins, both of Kalkaska, Michigan, saved a paraplegic woman after a fire broke out in her home on Feb. 22, 2017.
• Delbert Blare, of Melbourne, Florida, died attempting to save Robert Shepard from drowning after he was carried away by a rip current while swimming in the Atlantic Ocean on Oct. 14, 2017. Shepard eventually reached shallow water and was saved.
• Michael Chestnut, of Foster, Kentucky, saved three 16-year-olds after their car overturned and caught fire on Aug. 24, 2017.
• John Hazelrigg, of Lunenburg, Massachusetts, and Russell Phippen, of North Billerica, Massachusetts, saved Revath Than from drowning as he clung to a rock in the icy Merrimack River on Jan. 3, 2018.
• Jay Agli, of Meriden, Connecticut, died trying to save a 19-year-old woman and young girl from drowning in the Connecticut River on June 11, 2017.1 comment on this story
• John Meffert, of Rancho Santa Margarita, California, saved 62-year-old Frank Pisano after his twin-engine plane crashed and burst into flames on a multi-lane expressway on June 30, 2017.
• Ronald Manning, of Bogalusa, Louisiana, saved two women after their car overturned and caught fire on a rural road on July 14, 2017.
• Jennifer Emo, St. Louis, Missouri, rescued 2-year-old girl from her grandparents' sedan after it caught ablaze on a highway on Aug. 26, 2017.
• Andrew Miller, of Frisco, Texas, saved a 62-year-old man who was being assaulted by a group of teens on a Washington, D.C. subway platform on May 12, 2017.