PITTSBURGH – A Floyd county native was named a Carnegie Award member this month after he rescued a man from a burning car on a highway near Orlando in 2014.
On December 17, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission awarded one of twenty-four Carnegie Medals to Martin native Stuart Chaffin.
According to the commission Chaffin saved John K. Kristich from burning on December 22, 2014. The commission states that Kristich was the driver of a car involved in a highway accident after it collided with a truck. Both vehicles burst into flames and Kristich remained in the driver’s seat of his badly damaged car as flames issued from its exposed engine area.
On Facebook the Carnegie Commission said of the incident, “After flames in the engine area breached the passenger compartment… Chaffin entered the backseat area of a car that had been involved in an accident. He climbed partially into the front seat area, dislodged the driver, and dragged him from the car. Chaffin then patted out flames on another man who had been involved in the accident, suffering third-degree burns on his hands and legs.”
The Carnegie award is given in recognition of civilian heroism to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. Four of the most recent awarded died in the performance of their heroic acts.
Eighty four people have received the award to date in 2015 and to 9,821 the total number since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission Chair Mark Laskow stated that each of those awarded or their survivors will receive a financial grant. Throughout the 111 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $37.7 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.
Stuart Chaffin, was born in 1969 in Martin, to Carl and Vicki Chaffin of Prestonsburg. He is the grandson of Walter and Marie Myhnier of Martin and Carl Chaffin Sr. and Ethel Mae Chaffin of Prestonsburg. Chaffin graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a degree in Criminal Justice.
Chaffin is a 24-year law enforcement veteran and has received numerous law enforcement accommodations including Police Officer of the Year, Community Police Officer of the Year, SWAT Officer of the Year and other departmental awards.
Chaffin also served two and a half years as a defense contractor working domestically and embedded with the U.S. Marines at Camp Leatherneck ( Helmand Providence ) Afghanistan. He received two Marine Corp Awards for Meritorious Conduct in support of missions with Operation Enduring Freedom.
Chaffin was wounded several times while in support of military operations.
Chaffin now lives in St. Cloud, Fla., and is currently employed as a senior manager of investigations, organized retail crime and brand enforcement for Luxottica, managing all domestic and international enforcement activities.
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