Southern Maine Real Heroes

  • Southern Maine Red Cross Real Heroes

The American Red Cross in Southern Maine honored five individuals and one organization at its “Real Heroes” Breakfast at the Italian Heritage Center in Portland on April 28th. When faced with a challenge, these individuals responded with extraordinary courage and that is why the Red Cross of Southern Maine is honoring them with this year’s “Real Heroes” awards.

Recipients included a man who saved the lives of three individuals from a burning vehicle that crashed outside his home in the early hours of the morning and a blood transfusion recipient who created a blood donation awareness campaign that has collected more than 250 units of blood.

State Fire Marshall, Joseph E. Thomas, served as the Honorary Chair as the Red Cross recognized those individuals who have gone above and beyond in service to others.

The 2016 Southern Maine Real Heroes recipients were:


Red Cross Hero E J Cabading

E.J. Cabading (of Limington, ME), Real Heroes Public Safety Award

In the early hours of the morning, E.J. was awakened from his sleep by a loud crash. Looking outside, he realized a vehicle had crashed into some trees and was on fire. E.J. directed his wife to call the police while he ran to the fiery scene.

E.J. encountered a chaotic scene - an overturned vehicle, on fire with screaming occupants inside. In addition, he saw one of the occupants was unconscious and partially ejected from the vehicle. Without regard for his own safety, E.J. battled the blaze with a fire extinguisher until the fire department arrived. Unfortunately, one of the occupants of the vehicle succumbed to her injuries.

"If E.J. had not taken the decisive action he did that night, more young lives would have been lost," said Sheriff William L. King, Jr., who submitted E.J. for the award. E.J. is credited with saving the lives of three young people and "his extraordinary bravery and willingness to get involved qualifies him as a real hero," stated Sherriff King.

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Red Cross Hero Raymond Poulin

Raymond Poulin (of Gray, ME), Real Heroes Blood Services Award

Two years ago, Ray Poulin, then 39 years old, was diagnosed with a life threatening blood infection, sepsis, which caused his kidneys and liver to fail. While in the hospital, Ray, a father of two young daughters, Samantha and Hailey, was induced into a coma and given a 10% chance to living. In immediate need of a blood transfusion, Ray’s hospital room was transformed into a makeshift operating room and he received 77 units of blood. After a full recovery, Ray wanted to give back to those whose selfless blood donations saved his life so he created an awareness campaign surrounding the importance of blood donation, called RaysUp. The campaign started with an original goal of giving back the 77 units Ray received during his battle with sepsis; however, the RaysUp campaign has, to date, collected 250 units of lifesaving blood.

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Red Cross of Maine Real Hero Rebecca Shepherd

Rebecca Shepherd (of Brunswick, ME), Real Heroes Community Service Award

Founded in 1991, Becky Shepherd has been the owner and operator of the Wild Oats Bakery & Café in Brunswick. With a focus on environmental and social responsibility and a desire to provide clean, all-natural and from-scratch products, Becky has been committed to the development of her staff, community and educational system. At Wild Oats, Becky has created an internship program that educates disenfranchised and at-risk students with basic social and culinary skills. Her nominator said, “Becky is one of the few business owners out there that is willing to consistently take a risk and coach and mentor and later employ young adults that may otherwise face little options for employment.”

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Red Cross Heroes Medal

Troy Mello & Bruce McKeil (of Bridgton, ME), Real Heroes Lifesaving Award

On the morning of December 31st, Troy Mellow and Bruce McKeil were on their way to work when they quickly realized something was not right in the neighborhood. As they approached a stop sign, both men saw their neighbor’s home engulfed in flames and quickly approached the scene of the fire. To alert the family, Troy and Bruce banged on a bedroom window and gestured for them to approach so they could pull them out of the burning house through the window’s opening. All three family members were pulled to safety and after the incident, the fire victim told a local reporter that, “they really saved my life, they did.”

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Red Cross of Southern Maine L.L. Bean, Real Heroes Corporate Partner Award

L.L. Bean, Real Heroes Corporate Partner Award

L.L. Bean has hosted more Red Cross blood drives than another other company in the state of Maine and collected more than 1,200 units of blood. Last year, L.L. Bean partnered with the Red Cross to build a team of 30 disaster responders. Over a weekend, these employees were trained through the Zero2Hero program on disaster response services and now comprise, L.L. Bean’s Sheltering Team. At any point during the day, they could be deployed to work in a Red Cross shelter. In addition, many of those employees have enrolled in additional training sessions so they can be more active in their communities during a disaster response.

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