The Chesterton father and son who drowned a year ago in the September floods
trying to rescue a boy swept away in a raging drainage ditch in the
Westchester South subdivision have been posthumously awarded Carnegie medals
Mark Thanos, 48, and his father, John Thanos, 74, were among 20 persons
honored by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission in Pittsburgh.
Steel baron Andrew Carnegie started the fund in 1904 after hearing rescue
stories from a mine disaster which killed 181. Since then, a total of $31.8
million has been awarded to 9,304 heroes. Medalists or their heirs receive
At approximately 10:45 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 14—after more than two days of
nearly non-stop rain—three young boys were playing in the water near a
drainage ditch on Olivia Court when one of them, a 10-year-old, fell into
the ditch. The boy, yelling for help, was carried away by the strong current
and sucked into and through a 36-inch culvert beneath Olivia Court.
John and Mark Thanos answered the call and entered the water themselves.
They too were pulled through the culvert and under the road, where they
drowned. The boy succeeded in crawling from the water and onto dry land.
Divers from the Chesterton, Porter, and Burns Harbor fire departments
immediately responded to the scene to conduct search-and-rescue operations,
while a CFD firefighter established a grab line on the bridge over the Pope
O’Conner Ditch on South Calumet Road in the event of the two men’s making it
that far east. Instead, PFD and BHFD divers recovered the bodies of Mark and
John Thanos in some underbrush on the far side of the culvert.
In honor of their sacrifice, the Chesterton Town Council has given the name
of Thanos Road to the connector street built between 100E and South Calumet
Road in the South Calumet District.
The Thanoses were two of the four medalists honored posthumously this year
by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.