FAIRFIELD — On 12/22/19 at approximately 4:06 PM, the Fairfield Emergency Communications Center received a 911 phone call reporting a subject had attempted to rescue his dog and was in distress in the waters of Lake Mohegan.
In open water, about 100 feet from shore, the 24-year-old male subject and his dog struggled to stay above the water. The male had been walking his dog with his girlfriend when the dog ran onto the ice and fell into the water. The male then ran into the Lake in an attempt to rescue the dog. The male subject swam into deep water and became submerged multiple times and was having difficulty getting back to shore due to the extreme cold temperature of the water. The male’s girlfriend began to yell for help and entered the water in an attempt to assist the male.
Jonathan L. Goldfarb, a 26-year-old physical therapist of Fairfield, and Matthew Goldfarb, a 30-year-old Howell, New Jersey, teacher, were walking with family in the area and heard the cries for help. They ran to the area and found the male subject in distress in the water. Jonathan and Matthew both entered the water without hesitation, knowing their own safety and lives were at risk. They were able to reach the male and pull him to safety onto dry land.
The male was reported to have been in the freezing water, submerged at times, for approximately 10 minutes. Jonathan and Matthew were in the water for approximately 4 minutes.
Fairfield Police and Fire Department personnel responded and located the 24 year old male subject exhibiting signs of severe hypothermia. He was transported to an area hospital and recovered. The Goldfarb brothers were also treated at an area hospital and recovered.
The actions of both Jonathan and Matthew Goldfarb represent an outstanding act of heroism. The brave actions of these men, who risked their own lives to save another, were most deserving of recognition. As a result, the Fairfield Police Department nominated them for the Carnegie Medal, which is given throughout the U.S. and Canada to those who enter mortal danger while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.
On March 24, 2021, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission announced that 18 individuals, including Jonathan L. Goldfarb and Matthew Goldfarb would receive North America’s highest honor for civilian heroism for risking their lives for others in peril.
In their press release, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission stated that “with this first announcement of 2021 recipients, a total of 10,220 Carnegie Medals have been awarded since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission Chair Mark Laskow said each of the awardees or their survivors will also receive a financial grant. Throughout the 117 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, more than $42 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.”
The Fairfield Police Department congratulates Jonathan L. Goldfarb and Matthew Goldfarb and once again extends its thanks and appreciation for their heroism.