Chesterton Tribune

Carnegie Heroes Fund honors Mark and John Thanos

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By the AP

and Tribune Staff

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 for heroism.

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 $6,000.

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.




Posted 9/29/2009