On that day, Wiseman’s mother, Sabrina Austin was in an accident that caused her vehicle to drive off an embankment on the side of Tommy Thomas Rd. after hitting an SUV coming from the opposite direction. Austin was able to escape the car with her three-year-old son, Brayden Austin, and her two-year-old son, John Wesley Austin, but Wiseman was stuck in the back seat with his belt buckled. Hooks, who happened to witness the incident, ran down to the car and struggled to pull Wiseman out. He shouted for a knife and when no one brought him, pulled Wiseman out after the seatbelt broke. While rescuing Wiseman from the car, he burned one of his hands.
Brayden was pronounced dead by then-Coroner John Vinson, and Wiseman was treated at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital for second and third-degree burns. He was in critical-but-stable condition for about two months and had several surgeries for his burn-related injuries, but died in February from complications.
In the weeks following the accident, Hooks stayed in touch with Sabrina and her husband, John Austin, and visited Wiseman in the hospital. The Kentucky State Police gave Hooks a Citation for Meritorious Achievement in May.
The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission was started by the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1904 and is based in Pittsburgh. According to its Web site, carnegirhero.org, its mission is to “recognize persons who perform acts of heroism in civilian life in the United States and Canada, and to provide financial assistance for those disabled and the dependants of those killed helping others.” The candidate must be a civilian who voluntarily risks his or her life “to an extraordinary degree” while saving or trying to save someone’s life. The person receiving the award also “must have no full measure of responsibility for the safety of the victim.” Since its inception, the Fund has given $30.1 million in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.
Find the full story of Hooks' award in this week's Cadiz Record.