The highest prize for citizen bravery is being given to a former NFL player from St. Anthony for saving a guy in a violent collision last year.
The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission has honored 16 individuals as Carnegie heroes, including 36-year-old Brandon Bair. In the United States and Canada, the Carnegie Medal is awarded to those who put their life in grave risk in order to rescue or try to save the lives of others.
Near May 2021, while Bair traveled to work at Henry’s Fork Homes along US Highway 20, he witnessed a train collide with a semitruck in St. Anthony. After an explosion, the train started to force the vehicle along the rails.
At the time, Bair told EastIdahoNews.com, “I got on the phone with 911 and started driving down the median to get to the front of the train when it stopped.
As the conductors exited the train, the South Fremont High School alumni, who played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, and Oakland Raiders before retiring in 2016, sprinted across the freeway. The front of the train and the truck were engulfed in flames and smoke.
25-year-old Steven Jenson was immobile and stuck inside the driver’s seat. When Bair heard Jenson’s voice, he rushed to the truck, but the only way to get to Jenson was through a tiny back window that was situated between the driver’s and passenger seats.
“When I rushed to the window, I discovered that the vehicle was filled with scalding hot flames. I was able to reach inside and unbuckle a man I could see wearing a seatbelt. I told him we had to go right now while he was talking,” Bair recounted.
Jenson was still confined within the cab even if the seatbelt was unfastened. As the two cooperated to destroy the steering wheel and other equipment, Bair got halfway inside. The 260-pound, 6’6″ football guy dragged Jenson out the “teeny window” after that.
“We left, and the fire on the roof quickly spread inside, engulfing the entire seat and cab in flames. There were a few loud bangs and bombs a little while afterwards,” stated Bair.
Bair remained at Jenson’s side until help came. After being evacuated to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, Jenson was ultimately allowed to go.
Since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s founding in 1904, the Carnegie Medal has been given to 10,307 individuals. A cash reward is given to each recipient or their surviving family members.
This is eastern Idaho’s second winner in recent years. A Carnegie Medal was given to an Arimo adolescent who perished in 2018 while swimming to save his girlfriend.