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Coon Rapids Man Who Died Trying To Save Nephew Among Carnegie Heroes

PITTSBURGH (AP/WCCO) — A Coon Rapids man who died trying to save his nephew from drowning last year is one of 22 people being honored with a Carnegie Medal for heroism.

Twenty-one-year-old Tou Hu Vang jumped into the St. Croix River to save his 11-year-old nephew, Calvin Yang, on May 25, 2014. The two were fishing near Taylors Falls when Yang slipped and fell in the river. It took searchers five days to find Vang's body. Yang was rescued by a Good Samaritan soon after he fell in.

The other new honorees, who will be formally announced Thursday, include three others who died trying to save others.

Ronald LaRue, of Mayfield, Kentucky, died attempting to save his 5-year-old grandson from drowning in the Penobscot River in Maine on Aug. 8, 2014. Karen Wessel, of Arlington Heights, Illinois, died after helping save an 8-year-old boy from drowning in a Wisconsin lake on July 22, 2014. And Nevada middle school teacher Michael Landsberry was killed trying to stop a seventh-grader armed with a gun.

Students say 45-year-old Landsberry walked calmly toward 12-year-old Jose Reyes at Sparks Middle School and asked for the weapon before Jose fatally shot him Oct. 21, 2013.

Jose had already shot one student in the shoulder in the play yard before classes began that day, and a former Washoe County school district police chief said Landsberry's actions gave other students time to run for cover.

The boy ended up wounding another student and firing two more shots into the wing of the school before fatally shooting himself to end the siege.

A Canadian man, William Ayotte, of Churchill, Manitoba, used a snow shovel to save a woman from a polar bear attack Nov. 1, 2013. Ayotte ended up being injured by the bear.

The other 17 winners are from Arizona, California, Hawaii, Indiana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Utah, and the Canadian province of Ontario.

The Carnegie Hero awards are named for Pittsburgh steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who was inspired by stories of heroism during a coal mine disaster that killed 181 people, including a miner and an engineer who died trying to rescue others.

The commission investigates stories of heroism and awards medals and cash several times a year. It has given away $37.5 million 9,797 awardees or their families since 1904.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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