WHEELING - More than a year after he was stabbed nine times while attempting to subdue a man who allegedly was attacking a pregnant woman at a downtown Wheeling bus stop, Wilfred Spencer III received the Carnegie Medal for heroism for his actions that day.
Spencer, a Moundsville resident, is one of 22 recipients of the medal announced Thursday by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission. Every few months, the commission selects winners from a pool of honorees who put themselves in harm's way to aid others in distress.
On Jan. 7, 2012, Spencer was driving on Market Street when he saw the couple sitting at a bus shelter near 16th and Market streets. He at first believed the man - 25-year-old Jonathan Welch - simply had his arm around the woman. But Spencer said he then observed Welch's hand on the woman's throat.
Spencer said he stopped his truck and offered the woman a ride to remove her from the situation. She accepted and got into the truck, but Spencer said as he was rounding the back of the vehicle to get inside, Welch attacked him - and it was only when he felt the warm sensation of blood trickling down his body that he realized Welch had a knife.
After a brief struggle, Spencer was able to restrain Welch until police arrived. Spencer received nine stab wounds, and the woman reportedly received a knife wound to the face.
Several days after the incident, Spencer said he had no regrets despite the injuries he received, noting "it shouldn't be unusual for someone to stop and help a young lady in need."
Welch is awaiting trial on malicious wounding charges. He has remained behind bars at the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville since his arrest.
Steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie established the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission in 1904 following an explosion at the Harwick Mine just north of Pittsburgh that killed 181 people, including two miners who died trying to save their co-workers.