Mt. Pleasant Township woman among 22 recipients of Carnegie medal
By Paul Peirce
Published: Thursday, April 18, 2013, 7:03 a.m.
Donna Rice says she inexplicably starts sobbing over the senseless death of her beloved daughter, Stacey Rice Feiling, who was recognized Thursday as a Carnegie Hero for her lifesaving actions three years ago in a tiny Westmoreland County village.
On her way home from work on June 1, 2010, Feiling, 42, stopped her Isuzu Rodeo in the middle of Route 981 in the Mt. Pleasant Township village of Calumet to help a stranger in trouble.
Moments later, Raymond J. Piper Sr. of Calumet shot the Good Samaritan in the face.
“I'm real happy about the award because I wanted Stacey to go down in history for what she did. But it's really a bittersweet thing ... she's no longer here,” Rice said.
Rice said she cried tears of joy Tuesday after she opened a letter from the Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Hero Fund Commission announcing bronze medals would be awarded to Stacey and two other men from Mt. Pleasant Township, Mark A. Garsteck and John E. Swartz, who kept others from harm's way during Piper's shooting rampage.
The trio from Westmoreland are among 22 from across the United States and Canada cited by the commission. Pittsburgh industrialist Andrew Carnegie started the fund after learning of extraordinary acts of heroism during a 1904 explosion at a coal mine in Springdale Township that killed 181 people.
The Calumet tragedy began to unfold at about dusk when Piper's wife, Janet, flagged down Feiling, begging for help because she and her 16-year-old daughter, KarenAnne, had been shot by her husband.
As Janet Piper ran around the vehicle to jump into the passenger seat, Raymond Piper, armed with a rifle and handgun, opened Feiling's door and fired the fatal shot, state police said.
Rice of Unity Township said it was not unusual for their daughter, who worked as a receptionist at Arnold Palmer Pavilion, a UPMC cancer treatment center in Unity, to help others. The cancer center is just a few miles from Greater Latrobe High School, where she graduated in 1985.
“I knew she was under consideration for the award, but there are so many worthy people I would have understood if someone else got it. It is a wonderful honor and I am truly happy Stacey was honored,” Rice said.
“She had a unique personality, just like her dad (Earl Rice), to make others feel so wonderful,” said Rice.
Garsteck, 55, had just gotten home to Calumet from his job as a sales representative when he heard gunfire. He found that Piper had shot and wounded his wife and teenage daughter, and was chasing them through the back yard.
Garsteck approached the armed Piper and attempted to calm him. Swartz, 47, an auto body technician who lived nearby, attempted to summon help, the commission said.
Piper fired at Swartz twice at close range, just missing him, as Swartz drove his pickup truck to a nearby garage to warn others of Piper's rampage.
The commission said Piper then began to chase Garsteck around a parked car and fired a shot at him, but missed.
Piper then ran toward his wife.
“Seeing two minor boys in (Piper's) back yard, Garsteck returned there and ushered them to safety,” the commission said.
As Garsteck looked for others who may be in harm's way, the commission said, a bloodied Janet Piper approached Feiling's vehicle to jump into the passenger seat.
Raymond Piper, armed with a rifle and handgun, then shot Feiling as Janet Piper fled. Swartz saw the shooting, and parked his truck to block oncoming traffic.
The commission commended both Garsteck and Swartz, who attempted to aid Feiling while Piper continued firing at the pair from a distance.
The commission said that both men kept conversing with Piper until police arrived and subdued him.
Piper, 39, pleaded guilty in October 2011 to third-degree murder.
Westmoreland County Judge John Blahovec sentenced Piper to 30 to 60 years in a state prison. He is at SCI LaBelle in Fayette County.
Stacey Feiling and her husband, Ron, celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary at The Nest Restaurant in Jeannette just 11 days before the tragic shooting.
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins notebook: Dumoulin gets his chance
- Penguins’ Neal suspended five games for Marchand hit
- Expert: KO doesn’t mean ‘worst’ concussion for Pens’ Orpik
- UPMC doctor killed trying to help at 50-vehicle pileup
- Pirates notebook: Huntington narrows team’s offseason targets
- Bethel Park man killed in car crash
- Penn State’s Jones picked for Senior Bowl
- Penguins players are not out looking for fights
- Kovacevic: Enough of these Steelers already
- Steelers WR Brown says ‘I thought I had it clean’ after wild, near-miss finish
- 8 techie companies unite, seek curbs on snooping