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Arizona man among 20 Carnegie Hero medal winners

PITTSBURGH — Two men who helped save six people from drowning during Superstorm Sandy and an Arizona man who rescued a woman from a burning home are among 20 being honored with medals for heroism by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.

The awards announced Friday included recognition for Robert P. Davies, of Golden Valley, Ariz., near Kingman, for saving the life of Charlotte Sowards, 92, who was trapped in her bedroom as fire spread in her mobile home.

Davies, who saw the smoke from his house, less than a mile away, went into action.

Other winners included:

• Michael T. McDonnell and Dylan Patrick Smith worked together to save people in Rockaway Beach in Queens during the October 2012 storm.

As their neighborhood flooded with more than 5 feet of water, the 51-year-old McDonnell and 22-year-old Smith created a rescue line to help people, and Smith used his surfboard to paddle to those in distress.

• John Bigwood of Fair Oaks, Calif. In February 2012, Bigwood confronted a gunman in Sacramento who had killed a man and was threatening Glenda J. Gully, 49. Bigwood, 57, put himself between the gunman and Gully, and persuaded the assailant to leave the building.

Other medal winners were from Connecticut, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Texas.

Steel baron Andrew Carnegie was inspired to start the fund after hearing rescue stories from a mine disaster that killed 181 people.

Carnegie medalists or their heirs receive financial grants approved by the commission. More than $35 million has been awarded to 9,653 Carnegie Heroes since the fund’s inception in 1904.

The awards are given four times a year.