Family of Beavercreek man who died trying to rescue nephew gets Carnegie ‘Hero’ Medal

Anthony Diehl swam into suddenly choppy waters, trying to save 7-year-old; Diehl’s son remembers ‘such an awesome father figure’

The family of a Beavercreek man who was posthumously named a Carnegie Hero was presented with the Carnegie Medal for Heroism at the Beavercreek City Council meeting Monday night.

Diehl was awarded the Carnegie Medal posthumously in September 2023 for his brave attempt to save his seven-year-old nephew, Elijah Britt, from drowning in South Haven, Michigan, on July 13, 2022.

His partner, Laura Steele, accepted the award on his behalf, as did their children and Elijah’s father, from Beavercreek Mayor Don Adams.

“The Bible reminds us that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for another,” said Beavercreek Mayor Don Adams during the presentation. “Anthony Diehl exemplified this profound truth with his selfless act of bravery, embodying the essence of a hero. This medal symbolizes not only Anthony’s bravery, but also the enduring impact of his sacrifice on our community. May his legacy inspire us to live with the same courage, selflessness, and love that defined his final moments.”

The family was on vacation near Lake Michigan at the time. Elijah was using a bodyboard in the shallows, when the water grew choppy and unpredictable. With no lifeguards on duty, Diehl, a 33-year-old restaurant manager in Beavercreek, swam out from the beach trying to rescue his nephew.

Although Diehl was initially seen near his nephew, they became separated, and the family lost sight of them. The rough current eventually washed the boy ashore, but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful, and he was pronounced dead at a hospital that evening.

Diehl, who drowned during the rescue attempt, was recovered the following day.

Diehl’s son, Robert, spoke to a roomful of people in the Beavercreek City Council chambers Monday evening.

“it’s not the award I care about. It’s the fact that I had such an awesome father figure,” he said.

Established by Andrew Carnegie in 1904, the Hero Fund has honored more than 10,400 individuals with the Carnegie Medal, acknowledging their exceptional heroism as “acts of lifesaving performed at extraordinary risk to the rescuer,” according to the foundation.

Anthony Diehl was recognized as the 10,383rd hero by the Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Hero Fund.

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