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Victoria man's son honored for saving life

By BY CAROLINA ASTRAIN - CASTRAIN@VICAD.COM
Dec. 19, 2012 at 6:19 a.m.
Updated Dec. 20, 2012 at 6:20 a.m.

From left, Joshua Steed, his girlfriend Stormi James, Jessica Allen and Jacob Allen at Steed's winter graduation ceremony at Hardin-Simmons University on Saturday. Steed was awarded by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission on Wednesday for saving Jacob Allen's life from a gunman on Sept. 7, 2011, in Abilene.

Joshua Steed was working at his office computer on Sept. 7, 2011, when he heard his co-worker yell, "Why are you doing this?"

Steed, 21, grabbed a heavy office chair and flung it toward an armed assailant who had fired shots at his colleague and friend, Jacob Allen.

"The only reason I was able to react was because of the courage God gave me in that moment," Steed wrote via email on Wednesday. "I remember thinking that I couldn't leave Jacob alone and defenseless in the office."

The bullet landed between Allen's temples, plunging him into an almost fatal condition.

"Jacob was not expected to live for several days," said Joshua's father, Robert Steed, of Victoria. "But he recovered with a little bit of temporary memory loss."

Now, Allen, 23, is a newlywed and college graduate - thanks to Joshua Steed, who rendered the assailant unconscious before he could inflict further harm.

The Carnegie Hero Fund awarded Joshua Steed and 17 other people, including four who died in their rescue attempts, on Wednesday for their heroism.

"I'm obviously very proud of him," Steed's father said while fighting back tears. "It's hard to believe something like that happened."

Steed was a college student in Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene when he and Allen were approached by a another co-worker with a .38-caliber revolver at the apartment complex where they all worked.

Instead of closing the office door to protect himself, Steed rushed the gunman and threw a chair at him, according to the commission.

Then he grabbed the gunman by the arms, rammed him into a wall and threw him to the floor - getting his gun in the process.

The gunman died of his injuries two days later, Robert Steed said.

Joshua Steed went through several sessions of therapy to work through the traumatic event.

"God truly worked through me in such a tragic situation and has continued to work through Jacob and I in our healing processes," he said. "It is beyond an honor to have been given such an award."

Joshua Steed graduated from college Saturday.

Other medal winners are from Illinois, Hawaii, New Jersey, Kansas, Iowa, Arkansas, South Carolina, Florida, Massachusetts and Calgary, Canada.

Collectively, they saved seven people from drowning, two from burning cars, and one from a burning home.

And a police officer in New Brunswick, N.J., climbed over the fence of a railroad trestle to rescue a suicidal woman dangling 25 feet above a street.

Carnegie medalists or their heirs receive financial grants approved by the commission.

More than $34.8 million has been awarded to 9,576 honorees since the fund's inception in 1904.

Joshua Steed would not disclose the amount of his award.

Steel baron Andrew Carnegie was inspired to start the fund after hearing rescue stories from a mine disaster that killed 181 people.

The Pittsburgh-based commission that administers the fund chooses recipients four times a year. The panel provides financial help to medal recipients who were disabled - or to the dependents of those killed - by their heroism.

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