PITTSBURGH (WCCO/AP) — Two Minnesota men who jumped into action when a small plane went down just received a big honor.

Robert T. Schmidt, 64, of Eden Prairie, Minn., and Paul A. Ansolabehere, 45, of Minnetonka, Minn., have been honored with Carnegie medals for heroism.

The Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Hero Fund Commission announced the honors Thursday for individuals from the United States and Canada who risked their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.

The two men rescued Robert Fiske, 66, after his small plane crashed in Eden Prairie in October 2009.

Earlier this year, Fiske reunited with his rescuers in Eden Prairie.

Incidentally, Schmidt is currently going through hardship of his own. He’s recovering after being injured in a fire earlier this month at his house.

Carnegie medalists, or their heirs, receive financial grants. More than $33.1 million has been awarded to 9,432 honorees since the fund’s inception in 1904.

Steel baron Andrew Carnegie was inspired to start the fund after hearing rescue stories from a mine disaster that killed 181 people.

Among the other winners are a retired New Jersey police officer who was fatally injured while rescuing a woman from a domestic assault and a delivery driver who saved a family of four from drowning after their raft overturned on the Colorado River.

Carmen DeGregorio, 51, of Millville, N.J., intervened when he saw a man trying to kidnap his girlfriend by shoving her into the trunk of a car at a convenience store in 2007.

DeGregorio freed the woman and fought off her boyfriend, Christopher Robinson, who then ran him down in the parking lot.

DeGregorio, a former member of the Millville police force, sustained serious head injuries and died two days later. Robinson later pleaded guilty to murder and attempted kidnapping and is serving 30 years in prison.

Another honoree is Kenneth Goss, 38, a deliveryman who was driving along the Colorado River in Moab, Utah, when he saw an overturned raft and four people in the water in April 2010.

Goss, of Grand Junction, Colo., swam to rescue the victims — a 1-year-old, a 3-year-old and their parents — and later was hospitalized for hypothermia.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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