DEER PARK, Texas — A Deer Park man who drowned attempting to save another man was posthumously awarded the Carnegie Medal, the highest honor for civilian heroism in the United States and Canada, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission announced today.
On September 4, 2019, 56-year-old Robert Todd Riddle was on the boardwalk adjacent to the Trinity Bay in Kemah, Texas, when he saw an unidentified man floundering in the water and calling for help, according to the foundation. Riddle removed his outer clothing and dived into the bay swimming towards the man who had reached a buoy and clung to it.
Meanwhile, according to the foundation, boaters had been alerted to the man on the buoy, drove over, and brought him onto their boat — unaware Riddle was still in the water. Bystanders stated they saw Riddle swimming back toward the boardwalk but, he then disappeared.
Search efforts were initiated but, Riddle's body was not located until the next day — he had drowned.
In his passing, Riddle left behind a wife, children, and grandchildren, according a GoFundMe which was established last year for funeral-related expenses.
"To us, he was exactly the kind of person that would risk his life to save another without hesitation," read a statement from the family on that GoFundMe page, in part. "He will always be remembered as a hero, a veteran, a Deer Park native, and as the hardest working man who always took care of his family."
The Carnegie Medal, which dates back to 1904, is awarded to those who risk their lives trying to save others from life-threatening perils.
14 others were also awarded the Carnegie Medal today, the foundation announced. They were; Scott Ullom of Dallas, West Virginia, Zachary A. McDowell of Prosperity, Pennsylvania, Isiah Jamal Pierce* of Laurel, Mississippi, Christopher Lanski of Agawam, Massachusetts, Marcos Gil* of Armio, Idaho, Yolanda Robinson Isom* of Rock Hill, South Carolina, Grant A. Goffinet of Jasper, Indiana, Brent D. Duncan of Jasper, Indiana, Justice Michael McBain of Sturtevant, Wisconsin, Scott Cooper of Ocala, Florida, Jeffrey Garrett of Elk Grove, California, Ross Dugan Fairhaven, Massachusetts, Winston S. Douglas of Hapeville, Georgia, and Michael B. Dunn of Waterford, Connecticut.