Congratulations to JB resident named Carnegie Medal recipient for extraordinary heroism

Craig Espenshade of Jensen Beach, Carnegie Medal recipient

In its first award announcement of 2012, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission named 21 individuals as recipients of the Carnegie Medal. The medal is given throughout the United States and Canada to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. Four of the awardees died in their rescue attempts.

Jensen Beach’s Craig R. Espenshade saved Sophie S. McConnell from drowning, Stuart, Florida, February 18, 2011. While swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, McConnell, 67, became fatigued while battling rough surf and strong currents that kept her from returning to shore. At a point about 300 feet from the beach, she waved for help. Espenshade, 50, business operator, was walking his dog on the beach when he saw her. He obtained a four-foot body board from another beachgoer and swam out to McConnell with it. McConnell by then was nearly unconscious as Espenshade positioned her atop the board. Holding her in place, he started to return toward shore against the current, but it impeded his progress. With difficulty, Espenshade made it to the beach with McConnell, who had swallowed water and was exhausted. She recovered in a day.

The heroes bring to 9,516 the total number of awards since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission President Mark Laskow stated that each of the awardees or their survivors will also receive a financial grant. Throughout the 108 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $34.2 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.

For a complete list of the recipients:

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