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Akron Public Schools teacher, Warren officer among 3 Ohioans awarded Carnegie Medal for heroic water rescue

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Posted at 1:57 PM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 13:57:32-04

CLEVELAND — An Akron Public Schools teacher, a police officer from Warren and a stay-at-home mom from Niles, Ohio are among 18 civilians nationwide who will be awarded the Carnegie Medal, North America’s highest honor for civilian heroism.

Akron Public Schools Intervention Specialist Melinda Wilms, Warren Police Sgt. Mark Krempasky and Christine Beheler, a mom from Niles, Ohio, were selected to receive the Carnegie Medal for a water rescue at Mosquito Creek Lake near Cortland Ohio in July 2019.

Beheler, who died while trying to save a boy from in the lake, will receive the Carnegie Medal posthumously.

All three were honored for their heroic efforts during a water rescue on July 29, 2019.

A 12-year-old boy was with five other children playing in the man-made reservoir when he chased a soccer ball into deeper water and struggled to stay afloat.

Beheler, 41, who was at the lake with her children that day, entered the water and swam about 150 feet to the 12-year-old boy who was panicking.

He submerged Beheler as Krempasky, 43, and Wilms, 49, jumped into the water to help.

Krempasky reached Beheler, who was unresponsive, towed her back into shallower water where others on the shore helped her to the beach.

Wilms, who had a pool noodle, reached one end of it to the struggling boy, who grabbed it and held on while she swam back to the beach towing him.

Bystanders administered CPR until EMS arrived. Beheler was transported to a nearby hospital where she died.

The Carnegie Medal is given throughout the U.S. and Canada to those who enter extreme danger while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. Click here to view the full list of recipients.

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