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Abilene police officer, man awarded medal of heroism for rescuing man from burning SUV

Mickie Fenwick and Officer Michael Garza in January 2019 after Fenwick was presented a Life Saving Award by the Abilene Police Department (Courtesy: Abilene Police Department)
Mickie Fenwick and Officer Michael Garza in January 2019 after Fenwick was presented a Life Saving Award by the Abilene Police Department (Courtesy: Abilene Police Department)
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An Abilene police officer and an Abilene man were awarded a medal of heroism for rescuing a man trapped in a burning SUV.

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission awarded the Carnegie Medal to Mickie Fenwick, 47, Officer Michael Garcia, 35.

According to a news release, Chad Perkins, 36, it a gas meter and a tree on Nov. 1, 2018.

The gas meter ruptured, leaking natural gas.

The engine of Perkins' SUV caught on fire.

Perkins was unconscious.

Fenwick and Garcia both responded to the crash,

While Fenwick put damp leaves and dirt on the flames, Garcia opened a rear door, but could not reach Perkins.

They both tried to pull Perkins out of the driver's side window, but Perkins' foot was stuck.

Fenwick got into the SUV and freed Perkins' foot.

Fenwick and Garcia then pulled Perkins out.

While he suffered "severe injuries" in the crash, Perkins was not burned.

In January 2019, Abilene police awarded Fenwick a "Life Saving Award."

The Commission awards the Carnegie Medal to "those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others."

It's the highest honor for civilian heroism in the US and Canada.

The list of recipients are:

  • Donald C. Lowrie, Islamorada, Florida
  • Henry F.F. Grant, South Egremont, Massachusetts
  • Edward S. Cyr, Tolland, Connecticut
  • Kenneth Stead, Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada
  • Anthony Moss, Arlington, Washington.
  • Jean-Paul Jasmins, Delta, British Colombia, Canada
  • Moyses Arrequin* Houston
  • Mickie Fenwick Abilene, Texas
  • Michael Garcia Abilene, Texas
  • Michael Hieronymus, Maricopa, Arizona
  • Pierre Joseph Gibbons, Baltimore
  • Albert Madrid*, Highland, California
  • James Glorioso, Jr. Amsterdam, N.Y.
  • Vladmir Orelus*, Avon, Massachusetts
  • Matthew M. Hanna, Sun City, Arizona
  • Luis Alberto Mendoza, Beloit, Wisconsin
  • Fusako M. Petrus*, North Highlands, California.

Petrus, 86, is the old person to ever receive the medal.

She was killed on April 26, 2017, while saving the life of her walking partner when they were assaulted on a school track she walked with friends six days a week for nearly 50 years (except when it rained).

Donald C. Lowrie
Donald C. Lowrie, a 50-year-old mechanic living in a condo complex in Islamorada, Fla., heard a girl screaming from a neighboring apartment on May 6, 2018.

Following the sounds, he ran to the front door of a neighboring condo where an 8-year-old girl had just been severely wounded by two adult dogs in her home.

The girl’s mother had intervened and allowed the girl to flee to an upstairs bedroom before Lowrie arrived.

When Lowrie arrived the dogs chased him, causing him to fall down a flight of stairs and break his wrist. One of the dogs — a male pit bull — bit him in several places, while the female pit bull mix stood nearby, barking.

Lowrie held the dog by its collar until the attack ceased. Both the girl and Lowrie were taken to the hospital with major injuries requiring surgery. They recovered.

Henry F.F. Grant
Paula Kaplan-Reiss, 59, and her husband had, on Aug. 10, 2019, reached the summit of Squaw Peak near Great Barrington, Mass., when she fell 30 feet to a steep slope and then tumbled to a nearly-inaccessible ledge above another steep slope and 30-feet drop.

She was severely injured, and those at the top of t hepeak could not see her.

A college student of South Egremont, Mass., Henry F.F. Grant, 18, became aware of the situation and on his trail descent from the summit with his mother decided to leave the main trail to search for her, shortly arriving at the base of a 30-foot rock wall that he deduced was below Kaplan-Reiss.

With no climbing gear, Grant slipped his hands into a crevice in the rock wall and climbed 18 feet until he could see her kneeling unsteadily on the ledge. Still on the wall, he used his cell phone to alert rescuers to her location.

He then ascended the remaining portion of the rock wall and a steep slope to another 6-foot rock wall where he took her hand and comforted her.

Another hiker used the same route to bring Kaplan-Reiss a windbreaker and a bottle of water.

Grant let that hiker take his place, and he climbed up to the top of the ledge where he secured Kaplan-Reiss until rescuers could use ropes and a metal basket to lift her to the summit.

Rescuers also brought Grant and the other hiker to the summit. Kaplan Reiss suffered a concussion and broken bones; she recovered.

Edward S. Cyr
Last November, 57-year-old telecommunications technician, Edward S. Cyr, of Tolland, Conn., was driving on a roadway in Stafford Springs, Conn., when he came across a burning SUV; its disoriented driver, Glenwood D. Little, 66, still inside.

An explosion in the rear of the vehicle started a fire and flames spread toward the front seats.

Cyr opened the driver’s door, partially entered the car, and tugged on Little’s coat, but Little’s fastened seat belt prevented Cyr from removing him.

While flames advanced, Cyr released Little’s seat belt and pulled him from the car, as flames reached the back of the front seats. Little was taken to the hospital by ambulance for treatment of minor burns. He recovered.

Kenneth Stead
A teenager fled from his Cold Lake, Alta., home June 13, 2018, to seek the help of neighbor Kenneth Stead, 46, cable installer, because his mother’s partner was choking and striking her, stating that he intended to kill her.

Stead ran to the scene and knocked on the front door until the assailant opened it.

He saw the 35-year-old woman lying motionless on the floor of the home.

Stead asked her repeatedly if she was OK, and eventually she responded that she was not.

Stead entered the house and advanced toward the woman.

The assailant stepped in Stead’s path and stabbed him with a butcher knife in the abdomen.

The woman retreated to a bathroom and Stead exited the house.

Police responded shortly, tending to the woman before she was taken to a hospital for treatment and arresting the assailant. Stead was hospitalized for six days and missed two months of work before recovering.

Anthony Moss

Anthony Moss, a 61-year-old preflight inspector from Arlington, Wash., was driving at night when he

witnessed an accident in which a soft-top convertible was hit and caught fire Aug. 31, 2018, in Lake

Stevens, Wash. After running to the car, Moss said the flames were rapidly spreading inside the passenger

compartment where 25-year-old driver David M. Wampler remained. Unable to open the doors, Moss

pounded on the passenger window to stir Wampler, who was dazed. Moss climbed onto the hood of the

car, reached over the windshield and blindly through heavy smoke, grasped Wampler, whose hair and

clothes were on fire. He lifted him over the top of the windshield and patted out flames on his burning

hair, before rolling him on the ground to extinguish his burning clothing. Wampler suffered burns and

spinal injuries from the impact. Moss suffered minor burns to his hands and arms. They both recovered.

John-Paul Jasmins

In a Delta, B.C., children’s school parking lot, a 41-year-old woman fled a vehicle in which her husband,

armed with a large kitchen knife, threatened her harm in a Feb. 20, 2019, incident. In trying to force her

back into the car, the husband stabbed her. The woman fell to the ground. Off-duty Delta Police constable

John-Paul Jasmins, 38, was with his children nearby when he heard a scream and sprinted to the scene.

When he arrived on the scene, the woman was laying on her back behind a parked car. The assailant was

straddling her and repeatedly stabbing her as she tried to fend him off. In a full run, Jasmins drove his

shoulder into the man, tackling him to the ground. A struggle ensued and Jasmins was stabbed three times

in the left side before the assailant lost his grip on the knife. Jasmins subdued the man while a bystander

assisted. Shortly, constables arrived and arrested the man, who later pleaded guilty to assaulting both the

woman and Jasmins. Jasmins underwent emergency surgery for internal injuries and a severed hip

muscle. He was hospitalized three days before eventually returning to work.

Moyses Arreguin, deceased

In July 2018, Moyses Arreguin, a 29-year-old Houston welder, ran 80 feet to the aid of his 16-year-old

neighbor who was being robbed at gunpoint in his driveway. Armed with an aluminum baseball bat,

Arreguin struck the juvenile assailant and told his neighbor to run. A second juvenile, who also carried a

gun, ran toward them and he and the first assailant fired several shots toward Arreguin and the teen. The

teen fled to safety inside his home. Arreguin was struck by several bullets and fell to the ground; he died

of multiple gunshot wounds.

Mickie Fenwick and Michael Garcia

Mickie Fenwick, 47, of Abilene, Texas, and Abilene Police officer Michael Garcia, 35, responded to the

scene of a burning sport utility vehicle, which had struck a gas meter and came to rest against a tree on

Nov. 1, 2018 in Abilene. The gas meter ruptured and leaked natural gas at the scene; flames broke out in

the engine area of the vehicle; 36-year-old Chad L. Perkins was unconscious and remained in the driver’s

seat. As Fenwick put damp leaves and dirt on the flames to try to extinguish the blaze, Garcia opened a

rear door but could not access Perkins. Fenwick and Garcia both moved to the driver’s door and

attempted to remove Perkins through the driver’s window, but his foot was caught in the wreckage.

Releasing Perkins, Fenwick entered the vehicle further to free Perkins’ foot. They then pulled Perkins

through the window and carried him to safety. Although Perkins suffered severe injuries related to the

collision, he was not burned.

Michael Hieronymus

A mother called for help from the second-story window of her burning, Maricopa, Ariz., home Sept. 26,

2018. A 51-year-old power plant operator from Maricopa, Michael Hieronymus, was parked nearby

when he saw smoke coming from the house and, as he approached, saw the mother. Despite heavy smoke

and visible flames, Hieronymus crawled through the front door of the home. As he searched for stairs

leading to the second floor, he came across a 23-month-old toddler. He grabbed the baby and retraced his

steps to exit the home. Hieronymus briefly re-entered the home in a second attempt to rescue the mother,

but heat and smoke drove him back. The baby was taken to the hospital for treatment of burns and smoke

inhalation. Firefighters removed the mother from the home; she later died of her injuries.

Pierre Joseph Gibbons

Investigating the area after hearing some popping noises during the evening of Sept. 23, 2019, Pierre

Joseph Gibbons, a 57-year-old hospital facilities manager, saw his 77-year-old neighbor, Mary Sterling,

inside the basement of her burning, Baltimore row house. Gibbons entered the home through its front

door and, moving through thick smoke, found the basement door and descended the stairs. Gibbons found

Sterling and carried her up a flight of stairs to the first floor, where heat, smoke, and flames had

intensified. Grabbing a towel or blanket to shield them from the flames, Gibbons began to move Sterling

toward the front door when he collapsed. Minutes later firefighters entered the first floor and removed

Gibbons and Sterling, who were unconscious. Sterling was hospitalized and died about a month later from

complications of her injuries. Gibbons suffered burns to more than 70 percent of his body along with

inhalation injuries, underwent more than 20 surgical procedures, and suffered two strokes during his ninemonth hospital stay.

Albert Madrid, deceased

Two young sisters, about 7 and 4, remained inside their Highland, Calif., mobile home after it caught fire

March 9, 2019, and others in the home had exited. A neighbor and family friend, 25-year-old warehouse

worker Albert Madrid approached the home, and after briefly conferring with another at the scene,

entered the home through its front door. Less than two minutes after Madrid’s arrival, the girls were

removed from the home and seen on video being carried away from the house by two men. Firefighters

responding to the scene extinguished the fully engulfed home and located Madrid inside the structure near

the girls’ bedroom. He died of severe injuries sustained in the fire.

James Glorioso, Jr.

A 42-year-old actor from Amsterdam, N.Y., ran up an Atlantic City, N.J., beach, obtained a small boogie

board, and ran into the water after he became aware of a 58-year-old man struggling to stay afloat in

rough water conditions on July 29, 2019. James Glorioso, Jr., swam and paddled through ocean swells

to Thanh V. Bui, who was by then facedown in the water. Glorioso grasped Bui and turned him onto his

back and placed him on the board. Glorioso held Bui to the board, but, despite kicking, he struggled to

return to shore. Rescue personnel arrived and swam to Glorioso and Bui. They took Bui from him and

then aided Glorioso in returning to shore, where Glorioso was weak, muscles cramping, and dehydrated,

though he recovered. Bui could not be revived.

Vladmir Orelus, deceased

On Christmas Day 2018, Vladimir Orelus, a 28-year-old dental assistant, died attempting to rescue his

70-year-old father from their burning, Avon, Mass., home. Orelus, his wife, two sons, and an aunt

escaped the burning home, but Orelus re-entered the home to locate his father, Louis Orelus, a stroke

victim who used a cane or walker for walking assistance. Firefighters later found Orelus a few feet inside

the home’s front door beneath a ceiling that had collapsed in the fire. He had died. They also removed

Louis, who later died.

Matthew M. Hanna

Matthew M. Hanna, a 33-year-old, Sun City, Ariz., motorcycle mechanics student, was at his

grandmother’s Sun City house, when he became alerted to the June 16, 2019, fire in a neighboring home.

Running to the scene barefoot, Hanna forced open the home’s front door and crawled inside about 20 feet

to locate 57-year-old Teresa Hartgraves, who was screaming for help. Despite rapidly growing flames and

dense smoke, Hanna stood and dragged Hartgraves back to the front door and outside to safety.

Hartgraves was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

Luis Alberto Mendoza

The night of May 24, 2019, after Luis Alberto Mendoza, 29, cook of Beloit, Wis., awoke to discover

rapidly spreading flames outside his kitchen that had already blocked his path to the backdoor, he moved

toward the front door of his home when he heard a 24-year-old woman call for help. Mendoza went to the

basement where he found the woman with her two sons, ages 6 and 3. Carrying one of the boys, he led the

woman carrying the other son to the top of the stairs, but advancing fire forced them back down into the

basement. Mendoza used his fist to break out a small basement window, where he helped the woman and

children escape. Mendoza returned to the kitchen, where heat was blistering and exited the house through

the front door, suffering second-degree burns to his face and hands in the process. He recovered.

Fusako M. Petrus, deceased

A retired clerk from North Highlands, Calif., Fusako M. Petrus, 86, was walking with her 61-year-old

friend at dawn April 26, 2017, on a North Highlands school track when an 18-year-old man approached

the friend, struck her in the face repeatedly, and, after they went to the ground, held her down, groped her,

and attempted to rape her. As the woman fended off the man, Petrus approached them, brandishing a large

stick. Petrus struck the assailant and told him to leave her friend alone. The assailant shifted his attention

to Petrus, beating her to death, while the 61-year-old woman fled the scene to get help. The man was later

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arrested and is awaiting trial.

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