Gulf Breeze man to receive Carnegie Medal

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staff report

GULF BREEZE — Congressman Matt Gaetz will present the Carnegie Medal to David Hammond of Gulf Breeze for saving a woman from her burning home last year.

David Hammond, who is 64, saved 47-year-old Stephanie Wright from her house after it caught fire July 28, 2016. She dialed 911 and, using another phone, called Hammond, who was her landlord. He could hear her telling the dispatcher that she couldn’t breathe, according to a press release from Gaetz’s office.

Hammond rushed to her burning home, threw himself against her glass sliding door and then crawled through her house to save her. He dragged her to a doorway and then collapsed.

Police officers saved Wright and firefighters pulled Hammond to safety. The both suffered from smoke inhalation.

The Carnegie Medal is given throughout the United States and Canada to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.

Carnegie Fund Commission Chairman Mark Laskow said each of the awardees or their survivors will also receive a financial grant. Throughout the 113 years since the fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $39.4 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits and continuing assistance.

Hammond is one of 18 people throughout the United States and Canada who will receive the award. He will receive the medal at the Santa Rosa County Commission meeting at 9 a.m. Thursday in Milton.

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