An East Hampton woman who saved another woman from drowning in chilly Napeague Bay one night this past spring has just won a Carnegie Medal for her heroic act.
Katherine Lee Osiecki on Friday was named one of 20 individuals to earn the honor, which is awarded by the Carnegie Hero Fund Foundation to those throughout the United States and Canada who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.
Ms. Osiecki, then 21 and an off-duty East Hampton Town lifeguard and Ocean Rescue Squad volunteer, had just arrived at her Lazy Point, Amagansett, home with her boyfriend, John Glennon, shortly after 9:30 p.m. on April 21, when they heard a distant voice yelling for help.
A 57-year-old woman—who was later charged with DWI—had driven a Porsche off a launching ramp into the bay and was treading about 225 feet from shore in 45-to-47-degree water.
The couple responded to the beach and, with the aid of a flashlight, saw the woman bobbing on the surface. Ms. Osiecki removed her outer attire, waded into the water and then swam out to the woman, submerging to avoid being grabbed. Positioning the woman onto her back, Ms. Osiecki guided her back to shore. The woman was taken to the hospital for treatment. Ms. Osiecki—cold, tired and with cuts on her feet—quickly recovered.
The 20 honorees on Friday bring to 77 the number of awards issued in 2013 and to 9,653 the total number since industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie started the fund in 1904.