In its third award announcement of 2011, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission announced that 25 individuals throughout the United States and Canada were named as recipients of the Carnegie Medal. The medal is given to those who risk their lives, to an extraordinary degree, while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. Three of the awardees died in the performance of their heroic acts. Each awardee or their next of kin, in addition to their medal, will receive a financial grant.
Of the 25 individuals named as Carnegie Heroes this year are Anna and Joseph Buttaccio, Jr. of Lyons.
Joseph A. Buttaccio, Jr. and Anna Buttaccio rescued Michael C. Cline from burning in Palmyra, NY on June 10, 2010. Cline, age 30, was the driver of an automobile that, in a highway accident at night, left the roadway and came to rest down a wooded embankment, tilted toward the driver’s side. Flames broke out on the car and entered its interior. Conscious, Cline was trapped in the vehicle, unable to release his safety belt. Joseph, age 47, a postal clerk in Marion, and his wife, Anna, age 45, a business operator, drove upon the scene and stopped. Learning that the burning car was occupied, they descended to it and worked to remove its windshield.
Unsuccessful in accessing Cline through the opening, they went to the window of the driver’s door and repeatedly reached inside the vehicle in attempts to free him. During one such attempt, an explosion at the car forced Joe from it, his hair aflame. As he turned to retrieve a knife that was thrown to him, Anna reached through the window and with difficulty pulled Cline partway out. Joseph then re-entered thad cut Cline’s afety belt, after which he and Anna pulled Cline from the car and to safety. Cline required extensive hospitalize for treatment of significant burns and other serious injuries. Joseph and Anna also required hospital treatment, Joe for second degree burns to his hands and forehead, that caused him to miss a week’s work, and Anna for a second degree burn to her left hand and breathing difficulty.
It was Investigator John Stubbe of the New York State Police who nominated the Buttaccios for the award.