PITTSBURGH – A Utah man who wrestled a gun away from an escaped inmate at a fast food restaurant and three people who drowned in rescue attempts are among 19 winners of the Carnegie medals for heroism.
Eric L. Fullerton of Salt Lake City rescued an Arby's worker who was being held at gunpoint in 2007. Curtis Allgier had snatched the gun from a corrections officer who had taken him to a medical appointment and fatally shot the guard, then burst into the restaurant and grabbed a counter employee.
Fullerton, then 59, jumped over the counter and wrestled the gun from Allgier, who cut Fullerton with a knife. The scuffle allowed the employee and others in the restaurant to escape. Allgier ran away but was captured by police.
Fullerton and the others are being honored Thursday by the Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Heroes Fund. Steel baron Andrew Carnegie was inspired to start the fund in 1904 after hearing rescue stories from a mine disaster that killed 181 people. More than $32.7 million has been awarded to 9,391 people. Medalists, or their heirs, receive $6,000.
Three others winners drowned in separate rescue attempts.
Garrett T. Townsend Jr., 58, of Detroit, died helping to save a 7-year-old boy from drowning in a construction site excavation pit on May 24, 2009.
Allen Lee Heck, 20, of Longview, Wash., died helping to save a 9-year-old girl from the Cowlitz River in Kelso, Wash., on July 17, 2009.
Tina Maryann Moores, 35, of Grand Falls-Windsor in Canada's Newfoundland province, died saving a 9-year-old girl at Red Indian Lake in Buchans, Newfoundland, on Aug. 15, 2009.