José Higareda of Norwalk tried to save 10-year-old Ivan D. Carpio from drowning in 2009 but instead lost his own life. Tuesday the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission announced that Higareda would be honored with a Carnegie Medal and that his next of kin would receive a financial grant.
According to the commission, Higareda, a 20-year-old landscaper, was fishing from the bank of river-fed West Deering Pond with Ivan's father on May 25, 2009. Ivan was wading along the bank and lost his footing. He was pulled downstream by a strong current and his father and Higareda swam out to get him.
In water over their heads, the men submerged and surfaced repeatedly as they pushed Ivan to safety. Higareda submerged a final time and did not resurface. Firefighters recovered Ivan from the pond, his father having reached safety. They then found Higareda and returned him to the bank, where EMS responders tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate him. Ivan was taken to the hospital for treatment.
Eighty-five Carnegie Medals have been awarded this year. Since the Pittsburgh-based fund was established 106 years ago by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $32.9 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.
It is only the second time a resident of Norwalk has received the award. The late David A. Seidman was recognized in 1968 for helping to save Jeffrey N. Damp and Philip T. Davis from possible death from exposure on Mount Washington, N.H.
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