A Florida Keys girl was being attacked by pit bulls. Her neighbor is getting a medal.
When his neighbor was in danger one day in 2018, Donald Lowrie raced straight into the fight.
Now 50-year-old Lowrie is celebrated as a national hero for rescuing the 8-year-old girl who was attacked by two pit bulls in her home.
Lowrie is one of 17 people to receive the 2020 Carnegie Medal, awarded to people who risked their lives to save others. He is the only recipient from Florida this year.
"I have a daughter of my own," said Lowrie. “You hear that scream. It just got me into action. I went there and did what I did. "
Lowrie is from Ohio and has been based in Keys for 10 years. He spent three years as a technician for fleet management mechanics in Monroe County. In 2018, the district named him employee of the year.
Lowrie was bitten while fending off the dogs and had to undergo three surgeries for a wrist injury.
He just found out that he needs to have a partial wrist replacement.
Lowrie said he hopes the award sends a message to others: Take care of your neighbors.
"If I hadn't shown up, I would have no doubt the girl would be dead," said Lowrie. “I can still see her today. She is my neighbor. She is happy and healthy. "
"They came after me"
On May 6, 2018, Lowrie was at his Islamorada residential complex when he heard a girl scream from a nearby house.
The girl was badly wounded.
He followed the sound.
When Lowrie came in, the dogs were chasing him.
"I'll call the girl's name and go into the house," Lowrie said. “Two pit bulls are racing around the corner. You heard my voice. I found that they stopped the attack and came after me. "
Lowrie fell down a flight of stairs and smashed his wrist. One of the dogs - a male pit bull - bit his arm several times. The female pit bull mix was nearby, barking.
Lowrie held the attacking dog by the collar until it stopped attacking him.
Both the girl and Lowrie were rushed to hospital with serious injuries that required surgery.
The pit bulls have been home for about six months, Lowrie said. "These dogs didn't grow up with the kids," he said.
About the Carnegie Medal
Pittsburgh steelmaker Andrew Carnegie founded the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission in 1904. Since then, 10,185 Carnegie medals have been awarded.
According to the commission's website, Lowrie is joining three other Florida Keys Carnegie Medal heroes.
Gertrude Bush, 16, who tried to save someone from drowning in Key West in 1915.
C. Raymond Shook, 52, who died in 1970 to rescue a fisherman who fell from an Islamorada bridge.
Patrick McGeough Jr., 26, of Key West, honored in 2006 for trying to rescue someone who was in a submerged car in Texas.
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