Philly ‘Hero' Honored With Medal

Local man one of 22 people awarded for acts of heroism

A Philadelphia man who saved another from drowning after his car crashed into Schuylkill River has been honored for his act of heroism.

Christopher DeFelice was rowing on the Schuylkill near Boathouse Row in April 2011 when he witnessed a car veer off Kelly Drive and into the river.

Two men were able to get free of the sinking car, but did not know how to swim.

The 32-year-old jumped out of his boat, grabbed 20-year-old Enderson Tejada and brought him back to shore. A cyclist also jumped into the cold river and saved the second man.

DeFelice's heroic efforts were honored Thursday with a Caregie medal. Given four times a year by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, the medal is bestowed up those who perform acts of heroism in their civilian lives.

Twenty-two people were honored in all during the commission's first award announcement of 2013. Other medal winners honored were from Michigan, Canada, Vermont, Tennessee, Oregon, Kansas, West Virginia, New Jersey, Florida, Nebraska, and Georgia.

Among them were three New Jersey men who rescued two people from a burning van that had crashed.

Carnegie medalists or their heirs receive financial grants approved by the commission. More than $35 million has been awarded to 9,598 honorees since the fund's inception in 1904.

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

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, based in Pittsburgh, says its mission is to recognize people who perform heroic acts in civilian life and to provide financial help to those disabled, or to the dependents of those killed, by their heroism.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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