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Northwest College Wrestler To Receive Carnegie Medal For Heroism During Bear Attack

Brady Lowry and Kendall Cummings after the attack

Kendell Cummings, who survived a bear attack by jumping onto the animal as it mauled his friend on a hike in Shosone National Forest in 2022, will receive the Carnegie Medal for Heroism.  The medal is considered North America’s highest civilian honor for heroism.

Cummings, his Northwest College wrestling teammate Brady Lowry and two others were on a hike in the backwoods when the attack occurred.  Both students suffered serious wounds.

Cowboy State Daily reports the Carnegie Hero Fund announced Monday that Cummings will be awarded a Carnegie Medal for Heroism.  It was established by Andrew Carnegie in 1904.  The 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.

After the attack in 2022, Cummings told Cowboy State Daily that he jumped onto the bear as it mauled Lowry,  yanking on the bear’s ear.  It worked, but the bear then turned his attention toward Cummings, charging at him with surprising speed and knocking him to the ground.

In an interview with ABC News, Cummings said, “It knocked me onto the ground and then, with its head, pushed me on the ground all the way up against the trees and then kind of pinned me up there and it was attacking me. I was putting my hands in its mouth and stuff, so it wouldn’t be chewing on my neck and everything.”

Eventually, the bears walked away.  Cummings then called out to his injured teammate to see if he was ok, which prompted the bear to return for another attack.

“I called out to Brady to make sure he was alright and I think the bear heard me,” Cummings said. “It kind of circled around and got me again.”

The two were able to rejoin the others in their hiking crew and call 9-1-1. Cummings was airlifted to Billings Clinic in Cody where he received 60 staples in his head. Lowry was taken to the same hospital via ambulance and was treated for a compound fracture in his left arm.

“I think it’s awesome,” Lowry told Cowboy State Daily on Monday. “If anyone deserves it, it’s him. He is a hero.”

Although Lowry has since retired from wrestling, Cummings continued wrestling for Northwest this past season.

One of the other wrestlers who was there on the day of the attack, Orrin Jackson, competed in the NJCAA National Tournament this spring, finishing fourth.

Lowry competed in the 2023 nationals, finishing fifth.

He is now a high school wrestling coach in Idaho, and said he still often thinks about the attack. After some initial jitters about going back into the backcountry again, Lowry said he’s resumed one of his favorite pastimes in hunting.

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