Lincolnite Art Whitham recognized
as Carnegie Hero for life-saving action
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[March 24, 2020]
When the Lincoln City Council met on Monday, March 16th, Mayor Seth
Goodman was able to share a special announcement concerning Lincoln
resident Art Whitham. The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission has
announced that Whitham is one of 18 Carnegie Medal recipients for
Whitham will be receiving this special recognition due to his heroic
actions in saving the life of George Horn on a slick and cold day in
On December 18th, Horn, whom many of us know as the fun and friendly
white haired man who works at Big R in Lincoln, was driving his car
on an icy south of Lincoln on Route 121. The car began to spin and
slid off the road and into a nearby pond.
Whitham was driving on that same road and witnessed the accident. He
stopped his vehicle and rushed into the freezing water to assist
Horn. Water was filling the car, and Horn was trying to get free.
Whitham used his strength to help push down the driver side window
and assisted Horn out of the vehicle. The pair made their way to the
rear of the car that was not submerged and waited there for a rescue
team to come out and help them to shore.
Horn was taken to the hospital and treated for hypothermia. Whitham
was wet and cold but uninjured and required no medical treatment.
In a subsequent interview with local media, Horn said that at the
time of the accident, he did not know the man who had come to his
rescue. Through a co-worker at Big R, Horn was able to discover that
it was Whitham and went on to meet Whitham face to face to thank him
for his heroic efforts.
Whitham is a member of the United Riders of Central Illinois and
said that he had in the past participated in the Polar Plunge for
Special Olympic with his club members. He said that going into the
water, he knew ahead of time, the sudden shock that his body would
experience and was prepared mentally for that impact. At that moment
his only thought was on helping someone who had suddenly found
themselves in a very bad situation.
When Goodman made the announcement at the city council meeting he
shared that the Carnegie Medal for heroism was established in 1904
by Andrew Carnegie. Since that time 10,153 people have been
recognized for their selfless heroic actions in saving or attempting
to save the lives of others in emergency situation.
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Carnegie established the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission after a mining disaster
near Pittsburg, Pennsylvania where 181 lives were lost. Among those lives lost
were an engineer and a miner who went into the collapsed mine to try and help
those who were trapped.
Carnegie established the Commission’s Deed of Trust and set aside $5,000,000 to
start the fund. The fund was “to recognize persons in peaceful vocations who act
to preserve or rescue their fellows.” Recipients receive a medal that is
inscribed with scripture “Greater love had no man than this, that a man lay down
his life for his friends.”
The commission also established a fund that would provide monetary grants,
scholarship assistance and death benefits. As of 2020 more than $40 million has
been awarded to various recipients.
Documents provided to Goodman with the announcement shared that acts of heroism
are brought to the attention of the commission. The acts are “carefully
evaluated, and those that appear to have award potential are then investigated
and reported to the commission for decision.”
Thank you to Art Whitham, for going above and beyond to help someone in need.
The community is proud of your unselfish act and thankful that we all still get
to see George when we go to Big R!
George is excellent at his job helping customers choose seed for lawns, gardens
and feeding birds.