The Carnegie Hero award is given to persons who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.
Duane James, of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, was driving past the parking lot of a drugstore on May 19, 2000, when he saw a woman being robbed. He decided to intervene although the man weilded a knife.
Melissa A. Valles, 39, was exiting her car in New Bedford when a man armed with two knives approached, threw himself into the car across her, and, threatening her life, attempted to rob her. Ms. Valles struggled against the man. Meanwhile, James, 35, stopped at the scene and, although he was disabled by chronic leg pain, ran to Ms. Valles’s car, where he struggled with the assailant. The assailant dropped one of his knives at the scene, then fled on foot. James chased him and caught him at a point about 800 feet away, then held him for police, who arrived shortly.
James was awarded the bronze Carnegie Medal as well as $3,500 in a ceremony on April 26, honoring 19 individuals recognized for their bravery.
Since 1904, when The Carnegie Hero Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in Pittsburgh, 8,488 medals have been awarded along with $24.8 million in grants and aid.