The American Red Cross of Northern and Eastern Maine honored residents from Aroostook County a at the Real Heroes breakfast on Wednesday, May 11th at the Caribou Inn & Convention Center.
The 2016 Aroostook County Real Heroes Recipients were:
Sandy was waiting in a check-out line at a local store one day last summer when she heard a thud behind her. She turned around to see a man lying on the floor. Sandy immediately told the clerk to call 911 and she proceeded to do chest compressions on the man until the Caribou EMTs arrived. Sandy kept this man alive because of her quick thinking and knowledge of administering CPR and first aid. The man was taken to a local hospital and later air lifted to a hospital downstate for treatment. This man is alive and well today because of Sandy’s actions.
When John arrived home one afternoon this winter, he heard an unusual noise coming from his neighbor’s house across the street. He walked closer and heard his neighbor yelling for help. John ran over and found his neighbor lying on the ground with his leg pulled into a tractor snow blower. The man was in and out of consciousness. John called 911 on his cell phone; however, he had poor reception, but was able to make the operator understand to call the Easton Fire Department for help. John ran home to get blankets to cover his neighbor to prevent him from going into shock or hypothermia and waited for the first responders to arrive. John owns a snow blower similar to his neighbor’s, so he was able to assist the responders with instructions on how to use the Jaws of Life to free his neighbor’s leg from the machine. His neighbor was flown to a Portland hospital that day. John is credited with saving the life and leg of his neighbor.
On the morning of May 22 of last year, David Bouley was leaving his home when he looked in his rear view mirror and noticed a John Deere tractor on its side down an embankment. He stopped to investigate and found the driver pinned underneath the tractor. The driver had been there a while hoping someone would come along to help. He had started to dig himself out, but was in fear the tractor would move and make the situation worse. As David was accessing the situation, he saw another car coming down the road. David waved the car down and Paul McDonald jumped out to help. The two men worked very carefully in concert together, to help free the driver from being pinned under the tractor. Had David not looked in his rear view mirror that morning as he was leaving and if Paul had not stopped, the tractor may have moved and crushed the driver causing extensive injuries or death.
One day last November, Jerry Thibeault was driving across the Fort Street Bridge in Caribou when he saw a man who was attempting to jump off the bridge. There were cars stopped and people were trying to help, but the man was not responding to their rationale or pleas. Jerry stopped to see how he could help. The man was sitting on the outside rail, preparing to jump. He appeared to be in a state of depression and was intoxicated. Jerry tried to reason with him and just as the man let go, Jerry grabbed him and pulled him back over to safety. The Caribou Fire Department had been dispatched from an earlier 911 call and the Maine Warden Service was called to deploy a rescue boat. According to Jerry, “I am so very afraid of heights and water, but I just did what needed to be done!” Had Jerry not been there at that time, prior to the arrival of first responders, the man may have jumped and died. The man has been in rehabilitation and is doing much better today.
On a typical day last summer, the mother of a little 6 year-old autistic boy was putting away dishes in her kitchen while her son was standing behind her drinking a glass of water. Just seconds later, she heard a terrible scream and turned around to see that same little boy in the swimming pool with his 9-year old brother, Blake Vincent, desperately cradling his head to keep it above water. She ran out and jumped in the pool to get the little boy out and started to resuscitate him. Blake got out of the pool and ran into the house to call 911. Just by coincidence, Blake had left his friend’s house early to come home that afternoon. By doing so, he saved his brother’s life. First responders of the Ashland Ambulance Department told the little boy’s mother that he did not need to be transported to the hospital. When she started to resuscitate him, he had vomited and started to breathe. After a follow-up appointment, the little boy had not suffered any ill effects. Pool therapy is a significant part of the little boy’s treatment and he loves being in the water. Unfortunately that day, someone had not closed a side door securely and the last person using the pool did not shut the gate which had a padlock on it. The pool was immediately drained after the incident and the little boy is now going to the University of Maine at Presque Isle to receive his water therapy. Blake is his brother’s hero for saving his life!
In August of 2012, Robin’s younger sister was diagnosed with Leukemia. The cancer went into remission and the young sister went through over two years of chemotherapy to keep the Leukemia at bay. Unfortunately, last July the cancer returned and the only course of treatment was a bone marrow transplant. Five family members were tested; the only perfect match was Robin. Robin, a junior at Fort Kent Community High School, is very active in extra-curricular activities and is a member of the National Honor Society. Robin was eager to help her sister and underwent extensive testing and having her bone marrow harvested from two places on her hips. She missed over two weeks of school while at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, but never complained because of the pain or having to make up her school work. Robin also was involved in helping to raise money to cover her sister’s medical expenses with the Just Glow with It – 5K Race for her sister. Robin spent nearly two weeks at her sister’s bed side in Boston during the holidays to be with her and to help her mother. After almost three months in Boston, her sister was determined well enough to return home on December 30 of last year. Robin is an ultimate hero in saving the life of her little sister.
On November 20, 2015, Tyler Fitzpatrick was riding with four of his friends when the pickup they were riding in went off the dirt road in Linneus, went down an embankment and rolled over several times landing on its side. Tyler climbed out the broken back window and helped three friends get out and then discovered a fourth was missing. He dug out his cell phone to use its flashlight to find his friend nearby lying on the ground. His other friend had been ejected from the vehicle and in the process lost his shoe. Tyler saw that his friend’s foot had been nearly severed and his leg was severely broken. Having taken a CPR course, required at Region Two Applied Technology to take a welding class, Tyler immediately called 911 and then took off his sweatshirt, took out his jackknife to make a tourniquet, wrapped the foot, and kept it elevated all the time talking to his friend to keep him conscious until the ambulance arrived. While waiting for a report on his friend at Houlton Regional Hospital, he heard a helicopter land and since they were the only ones in the emergency room, he knew his friend was being air lifted to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. The emergency room physician came into the waiting room and wanted to know who the person was who attended to the patient because he saved him from losing his foot. Tyler’s friend has returned to school and is alive today and walking due to Tyler’s actions. According to the Houlton Pioneer Times, there were no pending charges nor was there any drugs or alcohol involved.
Four year-old Archer Noyes is credited for saving his grandfather’s life by knowing how to call for help in an emergency. He was staying with his grandfather while his mother and grandmother were out shopping during the holidays last December. His grandfather became violently ill, vomiting and in horrible pain. Archer immediately called his mother for help and stayed with his grandfather, helping to comfort and calm him until help arrived. His grandfather was taken to a local hospital and later had to be air lifted to Eastern Maine Medical Center for blood transfusions and treatment. Archer’s grandfather is alive and much better today because of Archer’s bravery and help.
When Naomi’s mother, who serves as a local Red Cross Advisory Board Member, explained to her the many ways the Red Cross helps others in need, Naomi decided she wanted to do something to help. Last year Naomi decided she would fill her piggy bank to the brim and donate to the Red Cross. This year, five year-old Naomi did not hesitate and started filling her piggy bank once again. She has learned that no gift is too small and that every dollar counts when it comes to helping others who have experienced a devastating loss of everything. She knows her dollars will be well spent in providing a safe and warm place to sleep, purchasing food, clothing, baby items, medication and helping people recover from a disaster. Naomi is a shining example of how we should all care for one another and do what we can to help. Naomi’s compassion for others who are affected by disaster and devastation, and her zeal of sharing how the Red Cross helps others is deserving of being recognized as this year’s Red Cross Young Ambassador.
Bill Flagg has been associated with the local chapter of the American Red Cross for over 30 years, including serving on the local board of directors, and as past board chairman. A recent example of his involvement with the Red Cross; with Cary Medical Center being one of the original program sponsors, he was instrumental at the committee level working with other local organizations, in launching the Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Program, which to date has seen over 300 smoke alarms installed free of charge in homes in central and southern Aroostook County. With installations in the St. John Valley and Presque Isle areas this spring, it is estimated almost 1,000 smoke alarms will have been installed free of charge in Aroostook County homes for FY 2016! Bill also helped Cary establish the state’s most successful Red Cross blood donor program early in his career at Cary.
Bill joined Cary Medical Center in 1979 after the opening of the new hospital. He has been a member of the Cary Medical Center Senior Management Team for 34 years as Director of Community Relations and Development. In that capacity he has worn many hats including Director of Community Relations and Development, Volunteer Director, Jefferson Cary Foundation liaison, and is the hospitals “connection” with many groups like the Cary Auxiliary, and local Support Groups that he has organized for Cary patients and community members. In addition, he has also brought millions of dollars in grant funds to the area; i.e., focusing on such topics as Alzheimer’s Awareness, Stroke Prevention, and Healthy Eating, Substance Abuse, and others.
Bill has been actively involved in the community in many ways, and has served on local and state associations such as Kiwanis Club-past President; Loring Industry Council; past President of the Aroostook Council to Prevent Child Abuse; Literacy Volunteers, United Way Board of Directors; past President of the Maine Public Relations and Marketing Association; and past President of the Aroostook Unit of the American Cancer Society, to name a few. Bill now serves on the Executive Committee of the Maine Public Health Association and is a member of the State Board of Directors for Catholic Charities, Maine. He was also just named as an Ambassador for Healthy Food in Health Care, New England, for his work with the Healthy Hearts program that he started at Cary.
Bill’s involvement as part of the hospital senior administrative team to provide local healthcare services for Veterans has been diligent. This began over 30 years ago with the establishment of the VA Outpatient Clinic on the Cary campus. Bill testified in support of the clinic in front of the Veterans Services Committee in Washington DC and served as liaison to the original Committee of Veterans who advocated for the clinic for some 25 years. In addition to the first VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic in the nation at Cary the committee’s work helped to establish the Maine Veterans Home and Residential Care facility on the Cary campus. Bill is now the hospital liaison with the Aroostook County Veterans Advocacy Committee, is an Associate Member of the Marine Corps League and United Veterans of Maine.
Bill has four children all still here in the County, three grandchildren, and has been married to his wife Stephanie, a Registered Nurse, for 35 years. These are but a sampling of Bill’s involvement with community service over the years. His dedication and passion for helping people is genuine, sincere and unprecedented. He has touched many, many lives in Aroostook County with his legacy of Lifetime Achievement.