TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — A Taunton man who died trying to protect others during another man’s violent rampage was honored for his bravery on Wednesday.
Exactly one year after his death, George Heath was posthumously awarded with the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission’s Carnegie Medal.
Heath is one of just 20 people from around the country receiving the award, which recognizes those who risk their own lives in an attempt to save others.
Heath, 56, put himself in harm’s way while trying to protect a pregnant waitress at the Bertucci’s inside the Silver City Galleria. She was being attacked by Arthur DaRosa, who authorities said was mentally ill.
When Heath intervened, he was fatally stabbed.
“In a minute, I was sitting next to my husband, enjoying a beer, looking forward to going to the movies… and the next, he was gone,” Heath’s widow, Rosemary, recalled. “So cherish your days. Cherish your friends. And laugh.”
- Timeline: How the Taunton stabbings unfolded »
Rosemary accepted the award Wednesday in the same place she and her husband said their vows to each other: their backyard. She urged others to perform simple acts of kindness every day with George in mind.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, and Congressman Joe Kennedy III were on hand to present the medal.
“Some people – in a moment of crisis, terror, fear, chaos, and all the rest – simply stand above us all,” said Baker. “And George Heath is one of those people.”
“His life was given to save another,” added Polito. “There is no greater good than that.”
Also in attendance was Sheriff’s Deputy James Creed, who was also having dinner at Bertucci’s on that tragic night. He shot DaRosa, putting an end to the rampage.
Sheenah Savoy, the waitress who Heath saved, gave birth to a daughter last October.