Milford man who pulled boy from pond will receive Carnegie Medal

Milford resident John Gerard O’Rourke, who saved a boy from drowning last year, will receive the Carnegie Medal.

Mayor Ben Blake will present the Carnegie Medal to O’Rourke on June 30 at 7 p.m., prior to the firework launch at Lisman Landing Marina, 37 Helwig St.

O’Rourke saved a 10-year-old boy from drowning in Milford on Feb. 5, 2017. The boy broke through the ice on a pond while playing with friends, moments after O’Rourke had warned the boys about the dangerous ice conditions.

O’Rourke, 61, who was walking his dog on a nearby trail, grabbed an eight-foot-long tree branch and moved on his stomach to reach the boy about 75 feet from shore when he, too, broke through the ice a few feet from the boy.

O’Rourke, fully clothed, grasped the boy and held him above water while treading water and attempting to break a path through the ice toward shore.

As he became nearly exhausted, O’Rourke heaved the boy onto the surrounding ice, which held, then instructed the boy to shimmy across the ice to shore.

O’Rourke was unable to hoist himself out of the water even after he moved closer to shore where the water was chest-deep. He was pulled from the water and across the ice by police using a rope and flotation ring.

O’Rourke and the boy were both treated for exposure to cold water; both recovered.

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. Since the Pittsburgh-based Fund's inception in 1904, 10,009 heroes have been awarded the honor.