Each year, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, created in 1904 by Andrew Carnegie, recognizes acts of bravery in the United States and Canada. Honorees — about 100 a year — receive a medal. • In two perilous events, four Floridians made the 2009 annual report (carnegiehero.org). Here are their stories.
Mike Wilson, Times staff writer
RICHARD S. CAMERON
Richard S. Cameron helped to save Ray J. Davis from drowning, East Naples, Florida, July 3, 2008. Davis, 55, was the driver of a sport utility vehicle that left the roadway, entered a golf course lake, and began to submerge, upright, in water about 25 feet deep. Approaching the scene in his vehicle, Cameron, 36, a construction worker, witnessed the accident. He parked and ran to the lake, removing his shirt and shoes. With the vehicle then about 25 feet from the bank, Cameron swam to it, joining another motorist who had swum out. Cameron extended his upper body through the window of the driver's door, grasped Davis under the arms, and pulled on him as the other man, from inside the car, pushed. They struggled, as Davis' leg was caught on the steering wheel. Davis became free as the vehicle submerged. Cameron took him to the surface and swam to the bank with him. . . . Davis required a month's hospitalization.
TERRY RAY ODOM
Terry Ray Odom helped to save Ray J. Davis from drowning. . . . Driving behind Davis, Odom, 49, a business operator, witnessed the accident. . . . After attempting unsuccessfully to open its driver's door, he reached through the door's open window, grasped Davis, and attempted to pull him out, but again without success. Odom then climbed through a window into the vehicle as it continued to submerge. Another man who had witnessed the accident also swam out to the vehicle. As he reached through the driver's door window and pulled on Davis, Odom grasped Davis by the torso and pushed on him. They struggled, as Davis's leg was caught on the steering wheel. Davis became free as the vehicle submerged. The other man took him to the surface as Odom climbed through the window of the passenger door and surfaced. He too swam to the bank. Odom sustained a laceration to his foot, from which he recovered.
Dalton Lewand helped to save John D. Cameron from burning, Tallahassee, Florida, July 5, 2008. Cameron, 73, was the driver of a hatchback automobile that was broadsided in an intersection. The force of the impact caused the car's fuel tank to rupture, and the car burst into flame at its rear, with flames then spreading through the car's interior. Nearby, Lewand, 34, an assistant chief engineer, witnessed the accident. He immediately responded to the driver's side of the burning car, opened the driver's door, and unfastened John's safety belt. Joined by another man who witnessed the accident and who helped to save Cameron's wife, Lewand reached into the car, grasped Cameron, who was dazed, and pulled him from the vehicle. They took him to safety as flames in the interior of the car were reaching the front seats. When firefighters arrived within minutes, the car was engulfed by flames. Cameron and his wife required hospital treatment for their injuries, but they were not burned.
MARK C. MOORE
Mark C. Moore helped to save Eleanor P. and John D. Cameron. . . . Eleanor, 67, was the passenger in a hatchback automobile that was being driven by her husband when it was broadsided in an intersection. . . . Motorists, including Moore, 48, a physician, witnessed the accident. He ran to the passenger side of the burning car and with another man reached inside, grasped Eleanor, who was unconscious, and removed her from the vehicle. After they carried her to safety, Moore returned to the burning car and joined a third rescuer. They grasped John, who was dazed, pulled him from the vehicle, and took him to safety.