Joshua Grimmett didn’t hesitate when he saw a woman jump off the High Bridge at Lucky Peak reservoir on a Sunday night in late May.
The Boise man thought it was too risky for him to jump in after her, so he drove the woman’s idling car to the south side of the bridge and then hiked down the steep and rocky hillside to reach the water’s edge.
“I could see she was starting to bob,” Grimmett, who believes he got divine guidance on what to do next, told Statesman reporter Katy Moeller last spring. “I heard a voice: ‘Josh, your feet have gone numb. Your body is going to go numb. Go get the girl.’ ”
Grimmett, 33, a former lifeguard, dove in and swam briskly toward the woman, who was floating on her back. He grabbed the back of her shirt and pulled her safely to shore.
This week, Grimmett was announced as one of 21 people from across the United States honored with Carnegie medals for heroism.
Since 1904, a commission named for steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie has honored 9,914 people for their courageous actions. Carnegie was inspired by stories of heroism following the 1904 Harwick mine disaster in Pennsylvania that caused the deaths of 181 miners and aid workers.
Carnegie headed a company that became U.S. Steel Corporation and gave money to establish 2,509 Carnegie libraries built between 183 and 1929. Eleven of those libraries were established in Idaho, including Boise, Nampa, Caldwell, Mountain Home and Weiser.
The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, based in Pittsburgh, has given out $38.7 million to awardees over the years.
Fifty-seven of those honored came from Idaho, starting in the medal’s early years. Three Ketchum men, John Parks, Wallace McPheters and Leroy McCoy, rescued fellow miner Charles McCoy, 28, knocked down by the concussion from a premature explosion in 1905.
Last year, Nampa resident Alan Cavener was honored after rescuing an elderly man from an out-of-control vehicle in Meridian in August 2013.
Cavener, then a lieutenant with the Boise Police Department, saw a wrong-way driver headed slowly east in the westbound lanes of Interstate 84 between Locust Grove and Eagle roads.
Cavener pulled to the left shoulder, turned on his lights and siren and jumped the concrete barrier to intercept the vehicle. The driver was confused but Cavener got him to roll down his window and the officer grabbed the steering wheel and guided the vehicle to the shoulder.