Anyone who knew Ricky Lee Sneve thought there was something extraordinary about him. But to figure out what that was, took you a bit.

That is because there was a lot to this kid!

He loved his family- a ton! So much so, that he would even play dolls with his beloved 5-year-old sister Chevelle, more than likely, at times he would have rather done something completely, not, that!

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He loved being near the river, and, fishing, and, playing football with his brothers, working on "anything with a motor" and helping his mom and dad, wherever and whenever he could. He "always wanted something to do".

Who could have guessed that love for his family would also turn him into a hero. Not only to his loved ones but to the world. But what no one could know, was that the cost of Ricky becoming a hero, was his life.

Ricky Lee Sneve of Hudson, South Dakota, was just named a posthumous recipient of the Carnegie Medal (North America’s highest civilian honor for heroism) on March 29, 2022.

The Carnegie Medal Fund was created in 1904 by industrialist philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie.

Andrew Carnegie & the Rock River (Big Sioux River)
Carnegie Hero Fund Commission/Google Earth and Getty/Thinkstock

The Carnegie Medal is given throughout the U.S. and Canada to those who enter extreme danger while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. - - Carnegie Hero Fund Commission


This year 18 Americans, including Ricky are- - receive Carnegie Medal for acts of extraordinary heroism


The recipients of this honor or their survivors receive a financial grant that can be used for death benefits, scholarships, and continuing assistance.

This is why Ricky is receiving the Carnegie Medal:

Ricky Lee Sneve... A 10-year-old boy drowned June 12, (2021) while saving his 5-year-old sister from the same fate in the Big Sioux River near Hudson, South Dakota. Ricky Lee Sneve of Hudson, dove into the water after Chevelle Sneve stepped or fell into water that was 3 feet deep. He pushed Chevelle back toward the bank where she could exit the water to safety, but, in doing so, Ricky entered an area of the river where an undertow flowed into water 12 feet deep. Three boys and Ricky’s stepfather entered the water to help Ricky, but two of the boys immediately struggled ... and the stepfather and the oldest boy helped them back to the bank. By then Ricky had been carried about 50 feet from the bank, and he submerged. Sheriff’s department divers recovered Ricky’s body about 75 feet down-river from the point where he was last seen, in about 12 feet of water. He had drowned.- -Carnegie Hero Fund Commission

So now Ricky belongs to history, and to all of us.

Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest...William Shakespeare--"Hamlet"

Sources: Carnegie Hero Fun Commission, Ricky Lee Sneve obituary, and Dakota News Now. 

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