Two years after an accident that claimed the life of Stephenville teen Courtney Butler, the Carnegie Foundation has awarded her a posthumous medal for her heroism.
Butler was visiting with friends at the Low River Crossing on the Paluxy River when two of her friends entered the water. The current soon swept them away and without thinking of her own welfare, Butler jumped in. These actions led to Butler being nominated for a Carnegie Hero medal.
The accident, which occurred in May 2007, captivated the local community and once Butler was found, the entire area was left grieving.
“Courtney’s act was a testament to the value of another person’s life,” said her mother, Karen.
The nomination process began in June of last year, when the Butlers received a call from the Carnegie Foundation. The lengthy process, which examines police reports, eyewitness accounts and newspaper articles, led to Courtney being chosen as a Carnegie medal recipient.
Only 10 percent of those nominated are chosen to receive the award.
“While this has been a tender endeavor, we feel she is very deserving of the recognition,” said Butler’s father, Mike.
The foundation will award the family with a medal, inscribed with Courtney’s story of heroism, a monetary grant and a bronze plaque for her headstone.
The family misses Butler greatly and also recognizes the other heroes in this tragedy, Ty Patterson and Danny Tuggle, both game wardens who were searching for Butler. Patterson lost his life in the search and Tuggle sustained injuries.
“Our grief has been unspeakable and in our souls there is a chasm that can never be filled, but in our hearts there are precious memories, hope and gratitude that she was a gift in our life. Experiencing the loss of a loved one through heroism is something almost beyond sentiment,” said Mike Butler.
Courtney’s parents also expressed a deep gratitude to the Somervell Sheriff’s Department.