Provided by Rise Academy of Lubbock
Richard Baumgartner, the founder and director of Rise Academy charter school of Lubbock, was awarded the Carnegie Medal, accompanied by a monetary grant of $5,000, for his efforts to rescue one of his teachers during a hostage crisis at the school in May 2011.
The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission announced on June 25 Baumgartner's award as one of 35 made to date in 2013. The medal is given throughout the United States and Canada to civilians who risk their lives while saving or protecting the lives of others.
"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," stated Baumgartner. "But if the Carnegie Commission feels what I did merits their recognition, I am very honored by it," he added.
Baumgartner's award stemmed from the May 9, 2011 incident which took place at Rise Academy when a deranged individual came onto the campus and took four women hostage in the office building. Three of the four women – two staff members and one parent – escaped through the office back door and fled to safety just as Baumgartner was attempting to secretly enter from the back. A fourth woman, however, a Rise teacher, was being held at knife-point by the assailant in a locked interior room. Hearing the teacher's screams, Baumgartner broke open the door, which distracted the assailant, allowing the teacher to escape. Baumgartner then kept the deranged man at bay until law enforcement (actually a fire marshall) arrived on the scene. Baumgartner was only slightly wounded in the incident with a knife graze to the back.
Later it was learned that the male assailant had set his mother afire just before going onto the Rise campus. The woman never recovered and subsequently died of her burns several weeks later.
Baumgartner is the founder and director of Rise Academy, a high-performing charter school in east Lubbock. The school serves approximately 225 mostly low-income, minority students in grades pre-k through 8th. Baumgartner now carries a firearm on campus at all times in the wake of the hostage incident and after another dangerous event at the academy in the fall of 2011.
The Carnegie Hero Fund was established by legendary industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie 109 years ago. To date, $35.2 million has been given to persons for their acts of heroism in the protection of others.