Greek American Frank Axiotes from Nebraska, credited with saving a family from a fiery crash, was recently awarded the Carnegie Medal, the highest honor for civilian heroism in the U.S.
Axiotes of Elkhorn was presented with the award by Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP).
On September 25, 2020, Axiotes witnessed a three-vehicle crash while driving on I-80 in Lincoln. He pulled over and ran to the crash scene to help as the fire began to spread among the vehicles.
Axiotes pulled a nine-year-old boy out of the back of a Chevrolet Trailblazer to safety. He then worked with another passerby to break a window to rescue the boy’s twenty-one-year-old sister. Four people were transported from the crash site to hospitals with only minor injuries.
Axiotes: I did what I had to do
In the following video, Axiotes describes the horrific moments following the crash. “Thank God they were OK and we all walked away from the accident,” the Greek American says. “There is no way I was going to walk away from that.”
“Everybody around me tells me I am a hero, but I did what I wish anybody would do if my kids were in that situation,” he said.
Carnegie Medal for Axiotes, who “helped save lives”
“Frank’s initiative and courageous action helped save lives,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “He’s a true Nebraska hero and well deserving of the Carnegie Medal. Stepping up to help a neighbor in need is something Nebraskans do every day. Frank’s bravery is a fantastic example of the spirit of Nebraskans.”
“We are thrilled for Frank to receive this honor,” said NSP Colonel Bolduc. “His heroic actions made the difference in this case and they serve as inspiration for us all. We can all make a difference for others if we’re willing to act when others need help, just like Frank did for Maddie and Lucas.”
Over ten thousand individuals have received a Carnegie Medal since its inception in 1904. The award is presented to civilians who risk extreme danger in an attempt to provide life-saving assistance.
Last September, the Nebraska State Patrol honored Frank Axiotes with its citizen Public Service Award for his heroism.