LUTHERVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — A Maryland man is being honored with a Carnegie Medal for saving a seven-year-old who was washed into deep water in the Atlantic Ocean off the New Jersey coast last fall.
The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission announced Tuesday that Nicholas Stephen Siokalo, 27, of Lutherville, is one of 17 Americans and one Canadian receiving the award, which honors civilian heroism.
The organization said seven-year-old Chase Hannawacker and his aunt were wading in the ocean near Belmar, New Jersey, on September 14, 2019, when a wave washed them into deeper water.
As they yelled for help, Siokalo swam toward them. A rip current then washed Hannawacker away from his aunt and about 90 feet away from the shoreline.
Siokalo was able to make it to the boy and carry him on his hip as they were washed another 55 feet away from shore, getting submerged multiple times.
Lifeguards eventually reached the two and brought them back to land.
While the boy wasn’t hurt, Siokalo had to be taken to a hospital due to exhaustion and swallowing a large amount of water. He later recovered.
In December, Kyle Bowman of Aberdeen and Melissa Lehew of Darlington were awarded the Carnegie Medal for trying to save a 67-year-old man from a flooded road in Bel Air in 2018. Lehew and the stranded man, Daniel Samis, drowned.