Man who died trying to save his nephew honored

In a perfect world, our heroes would get as much attention as our villains.

Every few months we get a chance to rectify the problem and this week is one of those chances with the release of the list of heroes honored by the Carnegie Hero Fund Foundation.

Two Minnesotans are on the latest list.

Here is the citation:

Tou Hu Vang (deceased)
Kenphenyeehu Hawj

Tou Hu Vang died attempting to save Calvin Yang from drowning, and Kenphenyeehu Hawj saved him, Taylors Falls, Minnesota, May 25, 2014.

Calvin, 11, was on a family fishing outing along the St. Croix River when he fell into the water. Swollen from recent rains, the river had a very strong current, and Calvin was carried away from the bank and downstream.

His uncle, Vang, 21, college student, jumped into the river after him and swam toward him but did not reach him. At a point about 15 feet from the bank, Vang began to struggle in the water and turned back as Calvin continued to drift downstream. Vang was swept from his party’s view, and by the time those in his party accessed the river downstream, he could not be found.

In another party on the bank at the scene, Hawj, 44, truck driver, saw Calvin in the water. Removing his outer attire, Hawj ran along the river to reach a point downstream of Calvin. From atop a cliff, about 30 feet above the water, Hawj jumped into the river, swam to Calvin, who was about 60 feet from the bank, and grabbed the back of his shirt.

He started to swim toward the bank with Calvin, but halfway there he tired. After resting on a submerged boulder, Hawj towed Calvin the rest of the way to the bank and aided him from the water. Calvin was uninjured. Hawj was tired and sore, and he recovered.

Vang’s body was removed from the river five days later at a point about seven miles downstream. He had drowned.

In 1904, Andrew Carnegie donated $5 million to set up the fund (About $130 million in today’s dollars).

  • MrE85

    I was just thinking about Carnegie the other day. There is one of his libraries in Valley City, ND, where my brother-in-law lives. Remarkable that all these years after his death, his money is still doing good things.

  • Andrew

    Tragic story, but I love the fact the the Hero Fund exists. Thanks for sharing Bob.