The director of a Lubbock charter school was honored for risking his life while protecting a fellow educator. Richard Baumgartner was awarded the prestigious Carnegie Medal for breaking up a hostage situation leading to the rescue of a teacher in May, 2011. The award includes a $5,000 monetary grant.
Baumgartner is the founder and director of Lubbock's Rise Academy, a high-performing charter school in east Lubbock.
On May 9, 2011, a deranged man entered the Rise Academy and took for women hostage in an office. Three escaped to safety, but the fourth was held at knife point. Baumgartner broke open the locked door and distracted the assailant, allowing the teacher to escape. In the process, he fell to the floor and suffered a knife wound to the back before regaining his footing and holding the assailant, 32 year-old George Bradley, at bay until law enforcement arrived. It was later learned that Bradley had set his mother ablaze just before going to the Rise Academy. She later died.
Baumgartner said in a statement, "I have to wonder if what I did was in the same league as what some other recipients did. Two of them lost their lives in performing their heroic acts. But if the Carnegie Commission feels what I did merits their recognition, I am very honored by it."
Baumgartner's award was the 35th given by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission so far this year. The Commission has given at total of 9611 Carnegie awards to civilians who have risked their own lives to save and protect the lives of others. Established in 1904 by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, the Commission has now given $35.2 million in awards.