WAMPSVILLE — Two men from Oneida received the Carnegie Medal for their outstanding acts of selfless heroism.
Andrew Parent and Roger Combs, both from Oneida, were recognized at the Madison County Board of Supervisors meeting on Thursday, Nov. 10, and accepted their medals from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission (CHFC).
The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission was established in 1904 by Andrew Carnegie to recognize outstanding acts of selfless heroism performed by individuals in the United States and Canada. This year there are 16 recipients nationwide, including Parent and Combs.
According to the county’s recognition announcement, on June 21, 2021, Parent and Combs separately came upon the scene of an accident on Route 5 in Westmoreland, where a pickup truck struck a utility pole, overturned on its roof, and had a portion of the utility pole resting on the undercarriage. A fire broke out engulfing the truck’s undercarriage, while a downed electrical wire sparked and smoldered on the ground. Driver Jack H. Pylman was trapped inside.
According to a CHFC recount of the incident, Parent was passing by in a tow truck when he found Pylman, “whose upper body was severely burned, screaming for help at the driver’s window, where his lower body was pinned inside the truck. The fire was intense.”
Parent reportedly stepped over the wire and approached the truck, but despite his best efforts, was unable to pull Pylman free or put out the fire with extinguishers. As Parent called for help from bystanders, Combs then approached the truck, despite popping sounds. “He stepped over the wire, and, with Parent and Combs each grasping Pylman’s arms and hands, they pulled Pylman free and dragged him about 15 feet,” the CHFC continued.
Arriving medics tended to Pylman, and brought him to a hospital. Unfortunately, he died one week later.
“The bravery and courage of Andrew Parent and Roger Combs cannot be overlooked, they are true heroes and very deserving of this honor,” said Madison County Board Chairman John M. Becker. “They risked their own safety and lives to give another person a chance to survive. I am honored that we were able to present their medals to them today.”