With my post this weekend about Justin Garner — the courageous police officer who singlehandedly pursued a mass killer at a North Carolina nursing home, eventually shooting and killing [Oops. The killer is in custody] him — I seemed to have touched a nerve.
Thankfully, the vast majority of people sent in notes of hearty agreement that it is sad we don’t celebrate heroism like we used to. Of course, there were the requisite emails from those trying to blame conservatives and gun rights for the recent wave of mass shootings. You come to expect these things, but it’s still disheartening.
Anyway, credit where credit is due. USA TODAY did run nice article about Garner, complete with photo. But that was the only national media on him that I could find. Also, someone alerted me to the existence of the Carnegie Hero Foundation. Andrew Carnegie endowed the Hero Fund in 1904. Each awardee receives the medal and a cash award. To receive the medal, an individual must risk death to save the life of another. In the last 105 years, they have awarded 9,262 medals.
And one of the great things about the Hero Foundation is their website. It has a searchable database and you can read all about the the deeds of those who have been honored by the foundation. You can also nominate someone for the award via the website. Inspiring stuff.
UPDATE — from a reader:
My wife’s grandfather won this award in 1914. Our family still has the piano that he bought with the cash award.
What a lovely reminder. Also, a number of readers want to know if I nominated Garner for the award. I did not, though I did send the foundation a quick email with a link to the USA TODAY story. Filling out the actual form requires a fair amount of information about the potential honoree that I don’t have. If anyone out there is from Carthage, N.C. or nearby and can easily ascertain the addresses and other necessary info, I think getting Officer Garner formally nominated for a Carnegie Hero Medal would be a great undertaking.