Minnesota father who drowned while saving son receives international award for heroic act

Christopher F.N. Schultz, from Frazee, drowned the day before Father’s Day in 2019, while saving his son from drowning near Detroit Lakes.

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission announced earlier this week that Schultz posthumously will receive a Carnegie Medal that is given throughout the U.S. and Canada to those who enter mortal danger while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.

Carnegie Medals have been awarded since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904, established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

"They called a couple of days ago and said he got it, to be honest, I balled my eyes out," Chelsie Schultz, widow, said. "He’s a hero, I say to this day, I’m glad I only buried one instead of two, I’m very grateful for him."

Schultz’s family took their two boys fishing that day.

Their 3-year-old was dropping snacks down to the fish below the bridge when he fell into the 20-foot-deep channel.

Chris, fully clothed, jumped into the water after him, got to his boy and held him above the water until more help arrived to take the 3-year-old the rest of the way to shore. But the 31-year-old father did not make it out, according to family.

"I miss him a lot, the kids miss him," Chelsie Schultz said. "It’s been hard."

Chelsie said the family has known Chris was a hero for what he did that day, but now they wonder who submitted him for the award since the Carnegie Medals doesn’t share that detail.

"I’ve asked all the family members, I’m like, ‘Did you know about this?’ They are like, ‘No, no, we didn’t know,’" Chelsie said. "I do wonder who it is; I wish I could thank them for it."