PITTSBURGH — A retired Marine who caught a woman as she jumped from the upper deck of a stadium following an Oakland Raiders game was among 21 people honored with medals and cash from the Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.
The retired Marine, Donnie Navidad, 61, of Stockton, California, is credited with saving the life of a 20-year-old woman who dropped from the Oakland Coliseum just after a game on Nov. 24.
Navidad positioned himself to catch the 100-pound woman and managed to break most of her 45-foot fall.
Navidad was among several people pleading with the woman not to jump as he maneuvered beneath the woman. She was critically injured, but survived.
"He simply saved her life," Alameda County sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson said then. "Otherwise, she'd be dead."
Navidad was treated for arm and shoulder injuries, and fully recovered.
Three others honored Tuesday for various rescue attempts died in the process, so their families will receive the awards in their name.
Madison Leigh Wallace, 16, of Vermillion, South Dakota, and 28-year-old Lyle Eagle Tail, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, drowned on March 14, 2013, while saving Wallace's 6-year-old brother, Garrett. The boy fell from rocks into the Big Sioux River and survived after managing to swim to the riverbank after slipping from his rescuers' grasp.
Malo Enrique Paul, 16, of Niceville, Florida, also drowned while rescuing a 15-year-old girl from a rip current off Fort Walton Beach, Florida, on June 8, 2013.
The other 18 winners were from Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wisconsin, and British Columbia.
The Carnegie Hero awards are named for Pittsburgh steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who was inspired by stories of heroism during a coal mine disaster that killed 181 people, including a miner and an engineer who died trying to rescue others.
The commission investigates stories of heroism and awards medals and cash grants several times a year. It has given away more than $36 million to 9,718 awardees or their families since its inception in 1904.