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Seaman honored by Kiwanis with heroism medal

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Community recognition of teacher Jason Seaman continues after he was recognized by the Noblesville Sunrisers Kiwanis Club Nov. 13.

Seaman, who was shot three times after tackling a student shooter at Noblesville West Middle School May 25, was awarded the Robert P. Connelly Medal of Heroism at the meeting, which took place at the Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville.

Kiwanis President Ted Mahnensmith opened the meeting by describing the award, named after a Kiwanis member who lost his life trying to save a woman at a Kiwanis fundraising event at a train station in Illinois

“It fell to Robert Connelly, a 34-year-old sales engineer to volunteer for the activity at  the Lyle, Ill., train station during that morning rush hour (in 1966),” Mahnensmith said. “Connelly, a Marine vet with combat service in Korea, was a resident of Lyle, where he served as a village trustee and was a member of the Lyle Kiwanis Club. At 7:30 that morning, Connelly was on a platform when he saw a 20-year-old lady walk from the plank to cross the tracks, a secretary on her way to work. She had mobility difficulty that required the use of a cane. When she appeared to hesitate in the path of an approaching train – witnesses reported she became rigid with fright and remained rooted in place – Connelly ran 25 feet from the platform to her, put an arm around her, began to squat to lift her, but traveling in excess of 35 mph, the train was unable to stop, striking both of them fatally.”

In 1967, Kiwanis International created and posthumously gave the award to Connelly in his name. Mahnensmith said the medal has been given to nearly 700 internationally, and recipients do not have to be a Kiwanis club member.

Mahnensmith gave certificate to Seaman, and when it came time to present the medal, Seaman’s former student, Ella Whistler, who was shot seven times on May 25, placed the medal around his neck.

“We are here today to say thank you, in a small way, from Noblesville and from Kiwanis International,” Mahnensmith said to Seaman at the event. “You are what Kiwanis is all about, improving the world one child, one community at a time. That day, you improved the lives of many.”


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