Saturday was a usual day for Tim Rostar, 49, of Alanson, till he received a surprise in the mail.
"It was just a boring Saturday. Went out to the mailbox," he said.
Rostar wasn't expecting to receive any mail from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission that day, but he did and discovered he was one of the 25 latest Carnegie Medal awardees.
"It was kind of like, wow, I'm a hero," he said. "I'm getting a medal, too."
Rostar was awarded for rescuing his friend Robert "Bob" Wiley, 65 at the time, from an attacking bull at Wiley's farm in Alanson, April 18, 2009.
Rostar was visiting the farm when he heard his friend call for help from another area of the barn.
"All of a sudden I heard a bunch of ruckus and everything shaking. I heard him call for me," Rostar recalled. "He was on the ground ... like he was dead."
Rostar says he struck the 1,800-pound bull, who was attacking his friend, on the head twice with a shovel and the bull leapt over Wiley and ran out of the barn. Rostar didn't have a cell phone so he closed the barn door to keep the bull from going back in, drove to his house about a quarter mile away and called for help.
He did not know whether his friend would survive.
After making the call, Rostar went back to the farm and coerced the bull out of the parking lot and into the pasture.
"How are they going to be able to help Bob with a bull running all over?" he recalled thinking.
Despite sustaining numerous injuries, including a bruised kidney, collapsed lung and broken ribs, Wiley survived the ordeal, Rostar said. Rostar was uninjured, but shaken.
"(The bull) kind of looked at me like I was next," he recalled.
He added, "He's a lucky man, he made it. I swear to God, if it had been me, I wouldn't have survived that."
Wiley, now 67, said he heard about the award, given to people who act heroically to help another person without regard for their own safety, and decided to write a letter nominating Rostar.
"Tim certainly fits that criteria," Wiley said. "He did it instantly and without that help I would be dead, so I think he's a true hero."
Rostar said he and Wiley, who farms in Alanson but lives in Toledo, Ohio, for part of the year, have remained friends since the incident.
"If it happened again, I'd definitely rescue him," Rostar said. "Bob's a good person. Really generous, giving, thoughtful."
Rostar is looking forward to receiving his award.
"It's nice to get a medal, especially from Andrew Carnegie because he's one of my favorite Republicans," he said with a laugh.
The Carnegie Medal is given throughout the United States and Canada to civilians who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. Three of the awardees in this latest round died in the performance of their heroic acts.
Carnegie medalists, or their heirs, receive financial grants. More than $33.7 million has been awarded to 9,477 honorees since the fund's inception in 1904. New recipients are announced four times a year.
Steel baron Andrew Carnegie was inspired to start the fund after hearing rescue stories from a mine disaster that killed 181 people.
Timothy Lee Rostar
Timothy Lee Rostar rescued Robert G. Wiley from an attacking bull, Alanson, Michigan, April 18, 2009. Wiley, 65, was moving his 1,800-pound bull through a passageway of his barn when it turned on him, took him to the floor, and pinned him by the chest against the frame of a passageway door. He screamed for help. A neighbor who had come to visit, Rostar, 46, business operator, was elsewhere in the barn. He responded to the other side of the door, opened it, and saw the attack. Rostar entered the passageway and approached the bull. He grasped it by the ears and pulled, but to no effect. Rostar then picked up a spade and struck the bull hard on its skull with a point of the blade. The bull released Wiley, jumped over him, and left the passageway and then the barn. Rostar secured the barn against the bull's re-entry and then left to alert help. Wiley required hospitalization for treatment of significant injuries, including broken bones.
-- Source: Carnegie Hero Fund Commission
Rickie D. McDowell, Jr., Lincoln Park, Mich.
Kevin Moss, Southgate, MicH.
Rickie D. McDowell, Jr., saved Michael L. Harris from drowning, and Kevin Moss saved Craig W. Noble, Petoskey, Michigan, August 17, 2010. Harris, 58, was swimming in Little Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan off a beach at the state park when a very strong current kept him from returning to shore. After Noble, 56, swam to him but also became caught in the current, the men swam with difficulty to a buoy located about 180 feet from shore and clung to it. College students McDowell, 19, and Moss, 20, were in another party on the beach when they were alerted to the situation. They entered the water and swam out to the men. McDowell grasped Harris by an arm and Moss grasped Noble in a cross-chest carry as they attempted to swim toward shore, but they made no progress against the current. McDowell and Moss found that they could submerge and push off the lake floor. They did so repeatedly, pushing on Harris and Noble to propel them toward shore and using oncoming waves to provide momentum. When the rescuers reached wadable water with Harris and Noble, they were joined by others from the beach in aiding them from the lake. The men were tired and cold after the rescue, but they recovered.
-- Source: Carnegie Hero Fund Commission