PITTSBURGH — A man from Northport is among 21 winners the Carnegie medal for heroism.
Jason W. Thurston, 30, of Northport, rescued Nina Tyutyunnyk, 71, from a fire in December 2010. Tyutyunnyk’s granddaughters, Julia Cerone and Diana Tyutyunnyk, who were 10 and 13 respectively, were honored by the Northport Volunteer Fire Department in January 2011 for helping to save Diana Tyutyunnyk’s 2-year-old sister, Sophia.
The older girls were playing outside when they saw smoke coming from the home. Their grandmother grabbed Sophia and brought her to the door and handed her to the two cousins, then went back in to try to douse the fire with a pan of water, according to a previous Bangor Daily News account of the fire.
The girls then ignored their grandmother’s request to help her put out the fire and instead ran to neighbor Jason Thurston’s house and asked him for help. Firefighters praised the girls for heeding the fire safety advice they learned in school and getting help instead of going into the burning home.
Thurston ran over and found Nina Tyutyunnyk unconscious inside. He then had to carry her over his shoulders to get her out of the burning structure.
Robin DeHaven, a 28-year-old glazier from Austin, Texas, was on his way to a job in 2010 when he saw a small plane crash into a building. DeHaven took a 17-foot ladder from his truck, climbed into the burning building and helped six people escape with minor injuries.
Louis Charles Rosso, of Egg Harbor Township in New Jersey, arrived at an Atlantic City beach last year and heard a boy and a girl who were 300 feet out in the water call for help. Rosso swam out to the children, ages 10 and 12, and pushed them toward shore. A police officer swam out to help, and Rosso, who was exhausted, was towed to shore by lifeguards.
Another of Wednesday’s medal winners, Steven P. Zernhelt, of Northampton, Pa., died in 2010 while trying to save neighbors from an assault.
Carnegie medalists or their heirs receive financial grants from a fund. More than $33.9 million has been awarded to 9,516 honorees since the fund’s inception in 1904. New recipients are announced four times a year.
Steel baron Andrew Carnegie was inspired to start the fund after hearing rescue stories from a mine disaster that killed 181 people.
The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, based in Pittsburgh, says its mission is to recognize people who perform heroic acts in civilian life and to provide financial help to those disabled, or to the dependents of those killed, by their heroism.