PITTSBURGH, Penn. (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – A Texas man who saved six people after a tax protester crashed a small plane into a building housing government offices and a 70-year-old New Jersey man who helped save two children from drowning are among 21 winners of Carnegie medals for heroism.

Robin DeHaven, a 28-year-old glazier from Austin was on his way to a job in 2010 when he saw the smoke billowing from a building housing Internal Revenue Service offices where a small plane piloted by Joseph Stack crashed in a suicide protest over his tax disputes.

Heavy smoke and fire trapped six workers on the second floor of the building.

DeHaven took a 17-foot ladder from his truck, climbed into the burning building and helped the six escape. None of the workers sustained serious injuries.

Louis Charles Rosso, of Egg Harbor Township in New Jersey, arrived at an Atlantic City beach last year and heard a boy and a girl who were 300 feet out in the water call for help. Rosso swam out to the children, ages 10 and 12, and pushed them toward shore. A police officer swam out to help, and Rosso, who was exhausted, was towed to shore by lifeguards.

Another of Wednesday’s medal winners, Steven P. Zernhelt, of Northampton, Pa., died in 2010 while trying to save neighbors from an assault.

Carnegie medalists or their heirs receive financial grants from a fund. More than $33.9 million has been awarded to 9,516 honorees since the fund’s inception in 1904. New recipients are announced four times a year.

Steel baron Andrew Carnegie was inspired to start the fund after hearing rescue stories from a mine disaster that killed 181 people.

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, based in Pittsburgh, says its mission is to recognize people who perform heroic acts in civilian life and to provide financial help to those disabled, or to the dependents of those killed, by their heroism.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Also Check Out:

More From CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Drip Pan: CBS Local App
Drip Pan: Weather App

Watch & Listen LIVE