Indiana State University Newsroom

University police officer receives Carnegie Medal for 2012 rescue

October 2, 2014

Chris Heleine isn't a coin collector but he'll find a special place to display a new coin he is about to receive bearing the likeness of industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

An Indiana State University police officer, Heleine is among 21 individuals from the United States and Canada announced Tuesday by the Carnegie Hero Fund as the latest recipients of the Carnegie Medal for risking their lives while saving, or attempting to save, the lives of others.

Heleine was recognized for pulling an Indiana State student to safety after the student's car struck several other vehicles in a campus parking lot and caught fire.

When Heleine first got to the car, he opened the rear passenger door and saw the student slumped over the steering wheel. He used a fire extinguisher against flames that had advanced to the front passenger door and was able to pull the student to safety moments before flames spread throughout the car and other nearby vehicles.

The student, Mark McKinley, was hospitalized for his injuries and Heleine inhaled smoke but fully recovered the next day. A medical incident caused the crash, police said.

Receipt of the Carnegie Medal marks the third time Heleine has been honored in connection with the Nov. 14, 2012 incident.

"I really didn't think I'd be getting anything this long after it happened. It's pretty cool that something I did a long time ago still has an effect on the community," he said. "It's nice that there are organizations out there that take the time to thank law enforcement for what they do."

Joe Newport, chief of the Indiana State University Police Department, said the recognition reflects well not only on Heleine but on the entire university force.

"Chris was in the right place at the right time that day because, while his shift was just about to end, he took it upon himself to take one more swing through campus in his patrol car," Newport said. "All of our officers are professionals who understand that they have chosen a career where they may need to put their own lives on the line to serve and protect others. We're proud of Chris for his actions and we know any of our officers would have done the same thing."

Photo: - Indiana State University police officer Chris Heleine (right) poses with student Mark McKinley on Jan. 14, 2013. Heleine pulled McKinley to safety after his car crashed and caught fire Nov. 14, 2012.

Media contact and writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or