LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Acting on his instinct to rescue a drowning couple during his Florida vacation last summer has brought a Laurel man local, state, and now national recognition.
Josh Weaver, a Laurel native, received notification that he has been nominated for the prestigious Carnegie Medal from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission based in Pittsburgh, Pa.
The Carnegie Medal is presented to persons who sacrifice their lives for others. Founded in 1904 by business magnet Andrew Carnegie, the Commission was established following the Harwick mine disaster near Pittsburgh in January 1904. The explosion took the lives of 181 people, two of which were an engineer and a miner who went back inside to save others. Carnegie was touched by their story and set up the Commission to honor “outstanding acts of selfless heroism” in the United States and Canada.
Only two other Kentuckians have been nominated for the award since its inception in 1904.
Weaver said he never dreamed his selfless act would draw so much attention and that he was honored by the various recognitions he has received.
It began with an article in The Sentinel-Echo on July 24, just days after Weaver risked his life to save an unknown couple from drowning. Then came stories on area TV stations and a letter from Gov. Steve Beshear.
When he received a letter from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, Weaver couldn’t believe all the recognition one single act had provoked.
“I never dreamed it would turn into this. When you hear of all the Carnegies’ have done — with the steel and working with John D. Rockefeller — and then you see a nomination from his foundation come to your mailbox, it’s amazing,” he said.
His story was found by researchers who look for key words in media outlets.
“They verified the story with WKYT and WLEX and the 21-member board all agreed to nominate me,” he added. “I’m honored by all this.”