Local man recipient of Carnegie Hero Medal for giving his life in a fire in attempt to save his son

From left: Eric, Thomas, Mackenzie and Amanda Hawk – from GoFundmePage.

A Bostwick, Ga. man has been honored this year by the Carnegie Hero Fund for his attempts in December 2022 to save his son from a burning home. His son made it out alive but Thomas Lee Hawk did not. Thomas was the husband of Monroe Area High School graduate Amanda Slaton Hawk. At the time, the local community came together to help the family cope with the tragedy.

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission awards the Carnegie Medal to individuals from throughout the United States and Canada who risk themselves to an extraordinary degree saving or attempting to save the lives of others. The Carnegie Medal is considered North America’s highest civilian honor for heroism and this year, the 39-year-old Bostwick resident who gave his life a year ago attempting to save his son’s life is one of the 18 recipients.

According to the press release from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, “on Dec. 16, 2022, flames broke out in the attic of their one-story, Bostwick, Ga, home and spread throughout the residence. Eric T. Hawk, 13, saw smoke entering his bedroom and opened the door to a smoke-filled hallway. He closed the door and called his father, Thomas Lee Hawk, a 39-year-old quality control supervisor, who was next door at Eric’s grandfather’s home. Hawk immediately ran into the burning home, with the grandfather following behind. As conditions worsened inside, the grandfather could not enter the home, but from the outside, heard Eric shouting for help from his bedroom. He went to Eric’s window, removed an air conditioner, and pulled Eric through the opening. He dragged him away from the home. Eric suffered severe smoke inhalation and was hospitalized for a few days. Hawk’s body was found in the hallway near Eric’s bedroom. He sustained burns to his body and died from inhaling smoke and soot.”

Each individual will receive the the Carnegie Medal as well as a financial grant. Throughout the 119 years since the fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, almost $45 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits and continuing assistance.

Since its inception, and including these latest awards, 10,405 individuals have been awarded the Carnegie Medal of Herosim.

Hawk is not the only local honoree. In 2018, Svetlana “Lana” Reut was honored by both the City of Loganville as well as the Carnegie Hero Fund for her actions on Jan,. 24, 2018 when she rushed in, at her own peril, to pull three pit bulls off a neighboring 9-year-old child who was being attacked by the dogs.

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