LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Louisville Bats head groundskeeper Tom Nielsen was named a recipient of the Carnegie Medal in an announcement made by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission on Thursday. 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.
Nielsen and fellow motorist James Terry saved an unresponsive 70-year-old Irmagene Lambert from her burning vehicle along I-71 by Zorn Ave. the night of Jan. 6, 2012. The men were able to bust into Lambert's burning vehicle and pull her out after she veered off the road and into the median. Terry was also named a recipient of the medal.
"I am honored to receive this award," said Nielsen. "I feel blessed that I was able to help Mrs. Lambert in her time of need. I hope if I am ever in a situation like Mrs. Lambert that someone would be there for me."
Nielsen and Terry were previously honored by the Louisville Metro Council with a civilian award proclaiming them "Outstanding Citizens of Louisville."
"It is of no surprise that Tom would risk his life to come to the aid of Mrs. Lambert," said Bats president Gary Ulmer. "He is a man of true character and a hero."
The announcement made by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission on Thursday brings the number of awards made since the Pittsburgh-based fund's inception in 1904 to 9,633. Commission president Mark Laskow stated that each of the awardees or their survivors will also receive a financial grant. Throughout the 109 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, more than $35.4 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits and continuing assistance.