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Carnegie Medal recipients formally awarded medals for heroics on Mississippi

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(WGEM) -- Two Hannibal cousins were officially honored in public Tuesday night for saving 3 people during a boating accident on the Mississippi on August 3rd of 2019.

Bobby and Jamie Whitley both received Carnegie Medals from the Andrew Carnegie Hero Fund Commission last year.

Tuesday night, officer Michael Blazinic formally presented the medals to them at Quincy City Hall.

He was the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer who was there the night it all happened.

They got the award in front of family members.

"It was nice to have all our family here, to receive this medal. It's a rare honor. 17 people got this model this year in the United States and Canada [combined this year], so Jamie and I are two of them," said Bobby.

Jamie said it's an honor to be awarded the medal by Blaznic.

"It's a tremendous honor him and his supervisor both, they went out on a limb to you know make sure that, you know, we were recognized, getting it from them, it's meant a lot," said Jamie.

"Our department had a certificate of appreciation, and I just felt that what they had done, and they kept going back into danger going back into danger time and time again that there was another higher award that I could find," said Blazinic.

Jamie and Blazinic both said they feel like five people were saved that day while the award only recognized the Whitleys for saving three people.

Jamie also said the child they saved was wearing a life jacket during the incident, something the official text of the award contradicted.

Blazinic also awarded them with their departmental certificate at the ceremony.

Related Stories:

Cousins recognized with Carnegie Medal after heroic river rescue

Crews search river after reported boat crash near Hannibal

Cause of weekend boat crash released, victims identified

Body of missing boater found

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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