Chairman of the Board
Dear Mr. Carnegie,
In 1911, you wrote to the Swedish king and asked if Sweden could accept a gift of US $230,000 in order to establish a foundation with the aim of awarding civil heroes. The king, of course, accepted your generous gift, and the foundation Carnegiestiftelsen was established according to your wishes.
In 1912, the first awards were given and, up until today, 2,399 heroes have received awards. In the beginning of the twentieth century, the rescues were, for example, from small wooden boats in stormy weather, saving sailors whose ships had hit rocks, or rescuing people from drowning or from fires. Today, the heroic acts are largely the same with regard to incidents of drowning and fires, yet a bit different. We have safer rescue boats, and the fire brigade can be called earlier because of our popular cellphones. Now we present awards more often when the hero has saved people from a burning car, or has helped someone who has been attacked in a dangerous way.
Our latest case involved a young man, 23 years of age, who saved a man from drowning after his car had gone into the water by a ferry berth. It was in February 2018, around 10:00 pm, dark and cold both in the air and in the water. Our hero had gotten out of his car, which was the only one waiting for the ferry, when he suddenly heard a cry for help. He realized that a car had gone over the quay and into the water, and he saw a man who had succeeded in getting out of his car but did not have the strength to swim. Our hero jumped into the water, swam to the man and took him to a cliff, but could not pull him out of the water because he was heavy and the cliff was slippery. The rescuer’s cellphone did not work because it had gotten wet, but he found a working cellphone in the man’s pocket and used it to make an emergency call. In the meantime, he realized that the ferry was on its way and they both could be drawn under due to the current and the waves caused by the ferry. He told the man at the emergency center about their situation, who managed to call the ferry and stop it before it was too late. Both men were saved by a rescue team after about twenty minutes in the cold water, hanging onto the small cliff.
Our hero jumped into the water, swam to the man and took him to a cliff, but could not pull him out of the water because he was heavy and the cliff was slippery. The rescuer’s cellphone did not work because it had gotten wet, but he found a working cellphone in the man’s pocket and used it to make an emergency call.…Both men were saved by a rescue team after spending about twenty minutes in the cold water, hanging onto the small cliff.
In the early days of Carnegiestiftelsen, there was almost no social welfare in Sweden, and the foundation often gave support to families of deceased heroes who had died saving, or trying to save, someone. The foundation also gave money to younger heroes for their education, or to help establish a home. Today we have a welfare system in Sweden, so there is no need for such support from our foundation. The awardees get a certificate, a watch with an inscription, and a sum of money.
In earlier decades, the foundation awarded quite a few heroes every year. Life was harder at that time. Nowadays we find fewer heroes because life is, in many ways, safer.
In 1993 the board found that there was enough money to support research with the aim of saving lives when accidents occur, and the statutes were changed accordingly. The foundation has so far given 6,874,300 Swedish kronor (US $742,365) to such research.
There are so many people in our country who are thankful for your generous gift, which has helped heroes have a better life.
The board of Carnegiestiftelsen has, in recent years, had the opportunity to meet representatives from other foundations established by gifts from you, and we have been able to exchange experiences. We have made many good friends in the Carnegie family.
Thanks a lot for your generosity! It has made a tremendous difference for Swedish heroes. We who work with Carnegiestiftelsen look forward to the years ahead, fulfilling your mission in accordance with your initial letter to the Swedish king.