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S.C. man who saved woman from 10-foot alligator receives national award

On Friday, Kenneth Brian McCarter was presented with the Carnegie Medal after he saved his...
On Friday, Kenneth Brian McCarter was presented with the Carnegie Medal after he saved his neighbor's life from a 10-foot alligator.(Beaufort County Sheriff's Office/Storyblocks)
Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 3:38 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - A Lowcountry man who went into a pond in Beaufort County to save a woman from a 10-foot alligator has received a national award for heroism.

On Friday, Kenneth Brian McCarter was presented with the Carnegie Medal.

Sheriff P.J. Tanner, who presented the award to McCarter, also nominated him for his heroic effort in saving the life of Carol DeLillo, McCarter’s neighbor who was dragged into a lagoon by an alligator in 2020.

“It’s unexpected, and I’m really grateful for the nomination. I’m speechless,” McCarter said following a presentation of the award.

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. This year, McCarter was one of 17 Americans who received the Carnegie Medal.

In July of 2020, DeLillo was tending her backyard in Okatie when a 275-pound alligator emerged from a nearby pond, bit down on her leg and dragged her in to the water.

McCarter was nearby and saw DeLillo splashing in the water and calling for help.

He entered the water and swam about 70 feet to DeLillo, grabbed her around her waist and attempted to pull her up to the surface of the water, but he could not. They were then pulled under the water.

McCarter attempted again to pull DeLillo to the surface and this time yanked her free of the alligator’s jaws. McCarter dragged and pushed DeLillo, who was heavily bleeding, back toward the bank where McCarter’s teenaged son was waiting to help them from the water.

DeLillo underwent multiple surgeries and regained the ability to walk with a cane.

“I think it just makes you realize how wonderful and special he is, and what he did,” DeLillo said of McCarter. “He’s such an incredible individual.”

“We’ve kept in touch by phone and text, and just to see her and see her recover and walking,” McCarter said.

McCarter and DeLillo following the presentation of the Carnegie Medal.
McCarter and DeLillo following the presentation of the Carnegie Medal.(Beaufort County Sheriff's Office)

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