82-year-old among newest Carnegie heroes

— An 82-year-old woman who dove into a pond to rescue a fellow retirement home resident became the oldest woman honored in the 99-year history of the Carnegie Hero Fund, established to recognize human courage.

Carolyn Kelly, a retired medical technician, heard a car splash into a pond Sept. 1, 2002, at the Glen Retirement Village in Shreveport, La. She jumped in and held 83-year-old Nina Hutchinson's head above water until help arrived.

"When you are there and that is happening, you either have to do it or live with your conscience forever," Kelly said.

Among 16 others honored Thursday were 74-year-old Marguerite Zachary, a retired nurse, who treated her wounded apartment manager despite being under fire by a sniper Sept. 24, 2002, in Dallas, Ore. Zachary stayed by her apartment manager, who was shot four times, until police arrived. The gunman was arrested after a five-hour standoff. The apartment manager survived.

Other recipients were Joel Schuneman, 40, and Robert Donalt Perry, 38, who rushed into their neighbor's home July 16, 2002 in Dearborn, Mich., when it exploded from a natural gas leak. Schuneman and Perry scrambled through the house despite plumes of burning gas to rescue Robert and Deanna Boer.

Taxi driver Rodney Lee Venice, 43, of Fenton, Mo. -- one of three people awarded medals posthumously -- helped a woman escape from a man pistol-whipping her Nov. 19, 2000, in a Sunset Hills, Mo., parking lot. Venice pulled the gunman away from the woman, allowing her to drive to safety; he was shot three times and died.


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