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PITTSBURGH, PA – Justin William Schroepfer of Rhinelander, WI has been posthumously awarded the Carnegie Medal for outstanding heroism.

Schroepfer, 24, passed away after attempting to save two swimmers from drowning near Little Presque Isle in Marquette June 11, 2016. Kaylilyn S. Tansey and Abigail L. Sprinkle, both 22, were wading in waist-high, 50-degree water of Lake Superior on a shoal that extended from a shoreline to an island about 300 feet away. While Sprinkle reached a large rock nearer to the island, Tansey had difficulty with the rough current. Sprinkle left the rock to assist Tansey and called for help.

On shore with friends, Schroepfer watched the women struggling. He waded into the water, then swam through large waves toward Tansey and Sprinkle. Schroepfer arrived in their vicinity, but all three were swept into deeper water, and Tansey and Schroepfer submerged.

As Sprinkle floated into calmer current back toward shore, a man and woman reached her and brought her to land.

Sprinkle was hospitalized for hypothermia, then released. Divers later recovered Tansey and Schroepfer about a half-mile from shore; both had drowned.

The Carnegie Medal is given throughout the United States and Canada to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. The heroes announced today bring to 77 the number of awards made to date in 2017 and to 9,991 the total number since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904.

Commission Chair Mark Laskow said each of the awardees or their survivors will also receive a financial grant.

Throughout the 113 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $39.6 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.

A total of 20 individuals were named in this class, seven were honored posthumously in this class of Carnegie Heroes including three who were attempting to rescue children.

You can find a full list of the recipients on the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission website.