Skip to main content

Lifesavers: 3 Minnesotans who saved people get medals for heroism

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Sometimes there are heroes among us and we don't even realize it.

But there are a few we might recognize in the future if they wear the Carnegie Medals for Heroism they were awarded Thursday.

Three Minnesotans were honored by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission for two heroic acts last year.

Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie started the commission in 1904. Carnegie felt the battlefield exploits that ended lives were celebrated, but not enough was done to recognize those who saved lives.

Here's what 2015's Minnesota winners did.

William Griep and Ben McAuliffe

Lillian Anderson was asleep in her home in Oak Grove, Minnesota, when a fire broke out in the kitchen, the Carnegie commendation recounts.

The 80 year old tried to rush out of the home using her walker but fell. Anderson called 911 from the floor as her home filled with smoke.

Paramedics Griep and McAuliffe arrived before the firefighters. Griep entered and made his way past the burning kitchen upstairs to Anderson. McAuliffe climbed an outside staircase to a deck off the bedroom and entered the house that way.

They groped through the smoke to reach Anderson and maneuvered her out onto the deck. All three were treated for smoke inhalation but recovered.

The paramedics and a deputy who helped get Anderson to safety later received the Citizen's Award for Honor from the Anoka County Sheriff's office.

Derrick Johnson

Johnson (who the Sun Sailor says is known as "Geronimo") was working at a construction site in St. Louis Park last summer when a boy ran up and said his help was needed nearby where a dog was attacking a man, Carnegie's commendation says.

Galen Carlson, 78, had tried unsuccessfully to defend his Yorkshire terrier from a pit bull that was on the loose. The pit bull had then turned on Carlson.

Johnson pulled the dog off the bloody man and used his weight to force the pit bull to the ground until Carlson could get up. When police arrived Johnson was using a 4x4 wooden post to fend off the dog. Officers were able to wrestle the dog into their squad car without being bitten.

When St. Louis Park police had a ceremony to honor Johnson and Marshall Schmitz, the 9 year old who had alerted him to the attack, Galen Carlson was on hand with his new Yorkshire puppy, KARE 11 reported.

Nominate a hero

Griep, McAuliffe, and Johnson were among 23 civilians honored by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission on Thursday.

They are interested in hearing about more heroes among us. Specifically, they're looking for people who risk their own lives to save another person.

Details about how to nominate someone are here.

Next Up


Runways shut down at MSP Airport due to heavy snow

Some spots in the Twin Cities could see up to 8 inches of snow on Tuesday.

Sourced_Q4_229260_A (1)

2PinkSquirrels - making memories with milkshakes

First Time Guests Get BOGO milkshakes starting December 1st and running through December 15th


Government official accused of stealing luggage at MSP Airport

Charges state Sam Brinton stole luggage with its contents valued at over $2,000.

Screen Shot 2022-11-29 at 12.09.28 PM

Developer plans 'modern European' condos for Minnetonka

City planners are set to review a concept plan Thursday.


Expect up to 8 inches in Twin Cities; another snowstorm next week?

The latest from Bring Me The News meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.


Northern long-eared bat moved from threatened to endangered list

Populations affected by white-nose syndrome have declined by 97% or more.


Court: Ex-cop who fatally shot Philando Castile had teaching license wrongfully denied

The Court of Appeals sent the application back for reconsideration by the board.

Screen Shot 2022-11-29 at 7.26.15 AM

Multiple crashes, spinouts in Twin Cities as snow falls Tuesday morning

The metro could get up to six inches of snow throughout the day.


Minnesotans honored with Carnegie medals for life-saving efforts

Two Minnesotans are being honored with Carnegie medals for saving men from drowning last year in two separate incidents. Last December, a Sauk Centre high school student rescued an ATV rider who went through the ice. The other awardee managed to tow a man to shore in the rushing current of the Mississippi River in May.