Fullerton father, teenage daughter win hero award for saving woman from angry deer

Alexis Vaughan and her father Michael.
Alexis Vaughan and her father Michael.
Michael Vaughan

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A father-daughter duo from Fullerton and a Texas man who saved six people after a tax protester crashed a small plane into a building housing government offices are among 21 winners of Carnegie medals for heroism.

Californians Michael Vaughan and his teenage daughter Alexis saved a woman in Idaho from an attack by an angry deer.

He says they were moving back to Southern California when they noticed the deer by their storage unit pinning a woman down with its antlers.

"It was no Bambi, I’ll tell you that," said Michael Vaughan. He says it kept charging at him and punctured him in the leg three different times before his daughter found a hammer. "It wouldn’t give up the whole time she was wailing on it with a hammer — it would not give up."

Finally, the teenager gave it "one good whack in the eye" and the deer ran off into a cornfield.

“I did anything and everything to get it off my dad ‘cause that’s my dad," said Alexis Vaughan. "And nobody likes to see their dad cry and scream like that. Everybody keeps calling me a hero and I think of all the other people that I consider a hero and I look at it as I was just at the right place at the right time."

After she graduates this June, Vaughan says she plans to go into a career in law enforcement.

Robin DeHaven, a 28-year-old glass fitter from Austin, Texas, 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.

DeHaven took a 17-foot ladder from his truck, climbed into the burning building and helped six people escape with minor injuries.

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.