By Starrla Cray
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Mitchell Mochinski of Lester Prairie was one of 23 individuals in the US and Canada recently awarded the Carnegie Medal, which is given to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.
In November 2010, Mochinski, a 2006 graduate of Lester Prairie High School, rescued a man who fell off a bridge.
He and his girlfriend, Laura Kahmeyer, had been on vacation at Gull Lake in Lake Shore (north of Brainerd) at the time, fishing on the pier.
They heard a loud splash, and realized that a man had plummeted from the 15-foot-high Cass County Road 77 bridge into the 40-degree water of Gull Lake.
Mochinski quickly went in after him, and Kahmeyer called 911.
The victim was transported by North Ambulance to Essentia Health’s St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd, where he was evaluated and treated for hypothermia.
Jumping into a lake to save someone can be dangerous, especially in cold weather. There have been many cases of people dying while attempting to save another drowning victim.
The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission has recognized 9,539 individuals since it was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1904.
Commission President Mark Laskow stated that each of the awardees will receive a financial grant. Since its inception, the fund has given a total of $34.4 million in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.
To nominate someone for the Carnegie Medal, write to the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, 436 Seventh Ave., Suite 1101, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, or call 1-800-447-8900.
To see the Mochinski’s full story from the Nov. 29, 2010, go to www.herald-journal.com/archives/2010/stories/LP-rescue.html.