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Man Killed In Montana Rescue Attempt Honored As Carnegie Hero

February 8, 1986 GMT

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Two men who attempted to rescue a woman being held prisoner at a mountain camp in Montana 1 1/2 years ago were among 14 people honored by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.

Alan Goldstein, 36, and James Schwalbe, 30, both of Big Sky, Mont., had joined a search team to look for Kari Swenson, a member of the U.S. women’s biathlon team who disappeared while jogging in Gallatin National Forest on July 15, 1984.

The next day, the two men discovered the camp of two men who had abducted Ms. Swenson. Goldstein was shot to death, and Schwalbe was injured but managed to go for help.


Goldstein’s widow, Diane, said she was pleased her husband was recognized.

″I’m not really surprised. I already knew what an incredible man Al was, even before this thing. I still do,″ she said.

″In Kari’s eyes, Jim’s a hero,″ said Jan Swenson, Ms. Swenson’s mother. Her 24-year-old daughter has returned to the biathlon team after recovering from the ordeal.

Don Nichols, 54, was sentenced last year to 85 years in prison after being convicted of deliberate homicide, kidnapping and assault in the highly publicized case. His son, Dan, 21, was convicted of kidnapping and assault and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The non-profit hero commission has honored 6,959 Americans and Canadians for heroism since its inception in 1904 by Pittsburgh industrialist Andrew Carnegie. Each award recipient or their family receives a bronze medal and $2,500 check.

Also honored Friday was Richard D. Zirbes, 34, of Wildwood, Ill., a metallurgist for Wells Manufacturing in nearby Skokie who was injured when he tried to stop a co-worker who entered the company’s office and shot two employees.

Zirbes tackled the gunman and was shot in the face during a struggle. He lost his right eye.

″I don’t know why I did it. It was just an instinct, I did it without thinking, really,″ he said Friday.

Zirbes, now a plant superintendent, has spent the past year recovering from eye surgery. ″I guess it was (worth) it to some extent,″ he said.

Others honored were:

-Richard Carlos Barrera, 14, of Pueblo, Colo., who helped save another boy from drowning in Runyon Lake on April 20, 1985.

-Daniel J. Clements, 31, of Pueblo, who jumped in after Barrera and the other youth after the two were swept out into the lake by a swift current. All survived.

-Jeffrey C. Bennett, 21, of Sacramento, Calif., who died trying to save a 4-year-old girl trapped inside a car on a railroad crossing in Sacramento on July 3, 1984. The impact pushed the child clear of the tracks, but Bennett was struck by the car and killed.

-Kristine E. Boring, 11, of Yuba City, Calif., who drowned while trying to save a 12-year-old girl from drowning in Feather River in Marysville, Calif., on June 14, 1984. The other girl was rescued by a teen-ager, who could not save Kristine.

-Richard Jon Makinson, 16, of Pixley, Calif., who dived into Feather River to save the girls. He managed to pull the 12-year-old from the water, but could not locate Kristine.

-Nolan Harold Harbar, 21, of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, died while attempting to save a friend who was washed by a wave into an inlet off Juan de Fuca Strait of the Pacific Ocean near Port Renfrew on Jan. 19, 1985. Both men drowned.

-Michael Jeff Jackson, 26, of Saltillo, Miss., rushed to save a 14-year-old girl who had fallen through the ice of a pond near Saltillo on Feb. 10, 1985. The ice broke beneath him, and he fell into the water and drowned. The girl also died.

-Patricia M. Markor, 32, of Park City, Ill., saved a woman from being struck by a train in North Chicago, Ill., on May 11, 1985. Neither woman was injured.

-Margaret E. Newell, 57, of Sooke, British Columbia, Canada, who died while trying to save a 92-year-old woman from a fire at a Victoria home on Jan. 17, 1984. The other woman, whom Mrs. Newell had cared for, also died.

-Wesley Lee Sant Jr., 31, of San Jose, Calif., died while attempting to rescue a neighbor who was being attacked by a man with a knife on Jan. 22, 1985. The neighbor, a woman, survived.

-James G. Thornsbury, 25, of Canada, Ky., rescued a co-worker following a cave-in at a mine in Sidney, Ky., on Jan. 23, 1984. Both men lived.