TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Carnegie Fund honors heroism of Mt. Pleasant woman, others

Lindsay Dill | Trib Total Media - Donna Rice holds back tears June 27 as her late daughter Stacey Lynn Rice Feiling is recognized as a Carnegie Hero and is dedicated a conference room at the Arnold Palmer Pavilion in Greensburg. Three years ago, Stacey Lynn Rice Feiling lost her life when she pulled over to try to save injured Janet Piper.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Lindsay Dill  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>Donna Rice holds back tears June 27 as her late daughter Stacey Lynn Rice Feiling is recognized as a Carnegie Hero and is dedicated a conference room at the Arnold Palmer Pavilion in Greensburg. Three years ago, Stacey Lynn Rice Feiling lost her life when she pulled over to try to save injured Janet Piper.
Lindsay Dill | Trib Total Media - A Carnegie Hero plaque as well as a conference room are dedicated to the late Stacey Lynn Rice Feiling on June 27 at the Arnold Palmer Pavilion in Greensburg. Three years ago, Stacey Lynn Rice Feiling lost her life when she pulled over to try to save injured Janet Piper.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Lindsay Dill  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>A Carnegie Hero plaque as well as a conference room are dedicated to the late Stacey Lynn Rice Feiling on June 27 at the Arnold Palmer Pavilion in Greensburg. Three years ago, Stacey Lynn Rice Feiling lost her life when she pulled over to try to save injured Janet Piper.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, June 28, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

In honoring the memory of a Mt. Pleasant woman, a plaque at the Arnold Palmer Cancer Pavilion is meant to remind people of the heroism it takes to face any danger, said Rob Firment, marketing and communications director for Excela Health.

The late Stacey Feiling worked for three years at the cancer treatment center in Unity.

“Here at the Palmer Cancer Pavilion, Stacey observed similar bravery as those in treatment faced down a brutal attacker that we know as cancer,” he said. “May this plaque ... serve to be encouragement to patients, staff and visitors so that they may persevere.”

A ceremony was held Thursday to dedicate the conference room plaque and honor Feiling with a Carnegie Hero Fund award.

On June 1, 2010, Feiling, 42, was shot and killed on her way home from work along Route 981 in the village of Calumet in Mt. Pleasant Township as she was trying to help Janet Piper, who had been shot by her husband, Raymond Piper.

Mark Garsteck and John E. Swartz were honored with 3-inch bronze Carnegie Hero Fund medals for trying to stop Piper, aid Feiling and keep others out of harm's way.

“I was amazed that I would receive such an award; I would never have expected anything like that,” Garsteck said.

Between 800 and 900 people from the United States and Canada are nominated for the award every year, but only about 100 of those are chosen by the Carnegie Hero Fund, which was begun by Pittsburgh industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1904.

Each selected individual “must be a civilian who voluntarily risks his or her life to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the life of another person,” according to its mission.

Tony Novak of Unity said as soon as he heard the news of the shooting, he believed Feiling needed to be recognized for her courage and nominated her for the award.

“Her memory is always going to be intact with her heroic efforts that afternoon,” said Novak, who led an invocation for about 50 people gathered for the ceremony in the pavilion's lobby.

Carnegie Hero Fund Executive Director Walter Rutkowski and board member Joseph Walton presented the medals to Garsteck; Feiling's parents, Donna and Earl Rice; her husband, Ron Feiling; and Swartz's wife, JoAnn and 17-year-old son John Jr., who accepted the award on his behalf.

“He doesn't feel like he's a hero,” said JoAnn Swartz of her husband.

The tragedy unfolded when Garsteck, 55, heard gunfire and saw Piper chasing his wounded wife and daughter through the back yard. They fled to the house next door, where Swartz, 47, lived.

Swartz tried to get into his truck to get help when Piper fired at him and he continued on to a nearby garage to call the police.

Meanwhile, Garsteck helped two boys to safety in Piper's backyard.

When Feiling stopped her car and Janet Piper tried to climb in the passenger seat, Raymond Piper, armed with a rifle and handgun, opened the driver door and shot Feiling in the face.

Swartz saw the shooting and parked his truck to block oncoming traffic. During the ordeal, Piper fired at both men, but missed, before he was subdued by police.

Piper, 39, pleaded guilty in October 2011 to third-degree murder and was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in a state prison. He is at SCI LaBelle in Fayette County.

Janet Piper and her 16-year-old daughter KarenAnne, who was also shot, recovered from their wounds, according to the hero fund.

Donna Rice said she doesn't understand why things happened the way they did that day, but is grateful her daughter's characteristic selflessness will be remembered.

“I thank them (the ceremony organizers) from the bottom of my heart,” she said. “It's been really hard for us, but at least they won't forget.”

While the Swartz family still lives next door to where the shooting occurred, Ron Feiling and Garsteck have moved to try and escape the constant reminder of that spring evening.

Garsteck said he felt indebted for his life to Swartz.

“I think there's a long overdue thank you coming to John,” he said.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or sfederoff@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Westmoreland

  1. Last option for former Jeannette Glass site: Pa. Supreme Court
  2. McKeesport man ordered to trial in New Stanton hotel homicide
  3. Jeannette man arrested in city shooting
  4. $200K grant will go toward demolition at Monsour Medical site
  5. Hole in North Huntingdon dance studio believed to be from car crash
  6. Hempfield joins county land bank
  7. Kecksburg celebrates its UFO history with annual festival
  8. Police identify Acme man who died after crash
  9. Traffic detour lifted
  10. Hempfield library programs at risk as funds dip
  11. Fairfield Township resident honored by Loyalhanna Watershed Association