Wis. sheriff’s deputy among 19 Carnegie heroes

Fund honors Wis. sheriff for saving man from Mississippi River

A La Crosse County sheriff’s deputy is being honored for saving an intoxicated man from drowning in the Mississippi River last summer.

Deputy John Williams will receive a medal and a grant from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission. It recognizes people who perform heroic acts in civilian life, but also recognizes law enforcement when their superiors say they’ve gone above the call of duty.

Williams heard the call over dispatch and responded on the evening of June 25, 2011, jumping into the dark waters to help Joel Merchlewitz. When he finally got to him in the strong current, they were carried farther downstream and submerged repeatedly.

Boaters caught up to the men and secured them with a line. Eighteen others from across the country were also named Thursday.