A pair of truck drivers are among the heroes who have been honored with the Carnegie Medal, given to “those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.”
Included in the recent round of 18 awards are Clinton Blackburn of Morehead, KY, and Mack Guffey of Gainesboro, TN. Blackburn was also named this year’s Goodyear Highway Hero award winner, while Guffey was finalist.
Each of the awardees or their survivors will also receive a financial grant. Throughout the 111 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $37.2 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance, according to the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.
Blackburn rescued Darrell L. Herndon from assault, Bardstown, KY, March 12, 2014.
A jailer, Herndon, 56, was transporting a male prisoner in a police cruiser when the prisoner, who was in the back seat, slipped from his handcuffs and partially entered the vehicle’s front-seat area through a small opening in the passenger compartment partition, according to the award description of the event. Extending an arm around Herndon’s neck, the prisoner began to choke him, but Herndon was able to maintain control of the vehicle as he pulled it from the highway partially onto the grass median.
Approaching the scene from the opposite direction, Blackburn, 44, saw Herndon’s vehicle lurch from the highway and come to an abrupt stop, and he then witnessed the assault. Blackburn pulled his truck off the highway, exited, and ran to the driver’s side of the police cruiser. By then, the assailant had completely entered the front-seat area and was continuing to choke Herndon.
Partially entering the vehicle, Blackburn pushed the assailant away from Herndon, breaking his chokehold, but the assailant then removed Herndon’s gun from its holster and threatened to kill them both. Blackburn grabbed the barrel of the gun and struggled against the assailant for control of it as Herndon dropped from the vehicle to the ground.
Able to twist the gun from the assailant’s grasp, Blackburn held him at gunpoint until Herndon recovered and secured him. Herndon sought hospital treatment for minor injury, and Blackburn sustained bruising and a cut. Both recovered.
Guffey saved Jeffrey Hakner from burning, near Rye, New York, July 17, 2014.
Hakner, 45, was trapped inside his sport utility vehicle after a nighttime accident on an interstate highway in which the vehicle overturned onto its driver’s side and caught fire at its front end. Traveling on the same highway, Guffey, 39, came upon the scene and stopped.
He took a fire extinguisher to the vehicle and emptied it on the flames but did not extinguish them and they grew, entering the passenger compartment. Seeing Hakner inside the car, Guffey used the fire extinguisher to break out the window of the front passenger door, which was then atop the vehicle. As Hakner stood and reached toward the opening, Guffey, despite flames at his feet, stepped onto the wreckage at the windshield, reached into the opening, and grasped him.
Stepping back to the pavement, he pulled Hakner through the opening, taking him to the pavement, and then dragged him to safety. Flames grew quickly to fill the vehicle, destroying it. Hakner required hospitalization for treatment of his injuries, but he was not burned. Guffey suffered minor burns to his feet as well as cuts and scratches but did not require medical treatment. Both also recovered.