A Suffolk police officer from Smithtown who pulled a drowning man from his submerged SUV last year is among 20 people awarded Carnegie medals for heroism.
Honored yesterday by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, Timothy Tonkin, 44, pulled James Leone Jr., 35, from an SUV that was submerged about 60 feet from a boat ramp in Cold Spring Harbor the night of Oct. 12, 2008.
Tonkin swam to the sport utility vehicle and climbed on top of it. He broke a window with his baton, and he and an off-duty Nassau police emergency medical technician, Scott Kitograd, pulled Leone from the car.
Leone, of Cold Spring Harbor, was taken to Huntington Hospital with what police called non-life-threatening injuries. Tonkin and Kitograd were treated for cuts from broken glass, while Tonkin also suffered a broken tooth.
A month later, while on duty, Tonkin saved an elderly disabled man from his burning home in Huntington Station.
Pittsburgh steel baron Andrew Carnegie started the Hero Fund in 1904 after hearing rescue stories from a mine disaster that killed 181 people. Since then, $31.8 million has been awarded to 9,304 people. Medalists, or their heirs, receive $6,000
Others honored this year include Allen Drew Nelson, 29, of Brooklyn, who saved a 36-year-old woman from drowning when she lost consciousness and was separated from her inner tube on the Colorado River in Dotsero, Colo., on July 14, 2008.
The fund also honors four who died trying to rescue others: Mark Thanos, 48, and John Thanos, 74, of Chesterton, Ind.; Rosetta Albright, 47, of Sapulpa, Okla., and Joseph Kelly Sr., 55, of Levittown, Pa.