Recognitions continue for Larry Hicks

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 13, 2003

Almost a year ago, Larry Hicks rescued a pilot whose plan crashed into a lake near his Troy home.

Almost a year later, Hicks is still being recognized for the heroic actions that saved the life of Jack Roush, owner of NASCAR's Roush Racing.

&uot;I still can't believe that people know about what happened or remember or even care,&uot; Hicks said. &uot;It still amazes me. It's very humbling.&uot;

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This past weekend,

Hicks was honored as a recipient of the Robert P. Connelly Medal for Heroism presented by the Kiwanis International Foundation Board.

The award was presented to Hicks in Birmingham and he was accompanied to the ceremony by Joel Williams of the Troy Kiwanis Club.

&uot;This was a very special award for me because of what the Kiwanis Club stands for and because of the man it honors,&uot; Hicks said. &uot;Robert Connelly was a member of the Kiwanis Club in Houston, Texas. He lost his life in 1966 when he attempted to rescue a disabled woman who had fallen in the path of a train.&uot;

Hicks said a year later, the Kiwanis International Convention in Houston created the Robert P. Connelly Medal to recognized heroic civilians who had no official responsibility in a rescue and could have instead passed by.

Hicks was one of six recipients of the Connelly Medal. Other recipients were Trevor Farley, of Oceanside Pacific, Calif.; Gene Brill of Pendleton, Ore.; Deborah Ryan of Carlsbad, Calif.; and Eric Gay and Franck Neimbo of Mont Dore, Noumea, New Caledonia.

Hicks also received a certificate of merit presented by the attorney general of the State of Alabama and the prestigious Carnegie Medal from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission of Pittsburgh, Penn.

The commission named 19 individuals from throughout the United States and Canada as recipients of the Carnegie Medal.

The medal is given to persons who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives others. Two of the awardees died in the performance of their heroic acts including a Sylacauga man, Christopher McGalliard.

Hicks said McGalliard died attempting to save a 13-year-old girl who fell from a personal watercraft on Logan Martin Lake.

McGalliard, a 25-year-old, truck driver, was fishing from a pier and dived into the water and swam toward the young girl. He went under the water before he her. People on another boat rescued the girl, but McGalliard drowned.

Hicks said more than 8,500 individuals have been recognized by the Carnegie Hero Commission since its inception in 1904.

&uot;I am very honor to be among those individuals,&uot; he said. &uot;I hope that I am deserving of this honor.&uot;

Each of the awardees or their survivors received a grant of $3,500 and that came as a complete surprise to Hicks who said, although it was a generous gift, he has been more than rewarded for his efforts.

&uot;I have gained a new best friend,&uot; he said of Jack Roush. &uot;That means more to me than money or recognition. He is a great man and a great friend and I am honored to know him.&uot;