Lester Drisko’s 34-foot lobster boat, which wasn’t named until last year, is now called Bamp’s Hero.

The namesake is Drisko’s grandson, 11-year-old Matthew Drisko of Addison.

Matthew was only 5 when he started fishing with his grandfather. At 8, he still wasn’t strong enough to pull the brick-laden lobster traps, but he could bait them and toss them back into the sea. He loved going out on the water with his grandfather.

On a raw day in late May 2009, the elder Drisko, after initially discouraging Matthew from coming along because of the rough conditions, relented.

After a morning of lobstering, they found themselves near Hardwood Island in Wohoa Bay when a rope suddenly snagged Lester’s leg and pulled him overboard, leaving Matthew alone in the boat.

It took the grandfather several terrifying moments in the 44-degree water to disentangle and swim back to the surface. By the time he popped up, the boat had drifted perhaps 100 yards away.

Matthew piloted the boat to his grandfather and tried to pull him aboard using the hood of Lester’s sweatshirt, but to no avail. Quickly removing his life jacket, Matthew fastened it around Lester’s neck and, at his grandfather’s instruction, set off for another lobster boat a quarter mile away, leaving his grandfather behind temporarily.

“At first, they couldn’t believe why a little boy was driving that big boat,” Drisko told the Bangor Daily News. “And then he hollered, ‘My grandfather is in the water.’“

Leland Faulkingham returned with Matthew, pulled Lester aboard and towed his boat to a dock in Jonesport. Last year, Matthew received a Certificate of Valor at the Coast Guard station in Jonesport for his actions.

He’s now a fifth-grader at the D.W. Merritt Elementary School in Addison. He owns his own boat and fishes 150 traps. His grandfather suffered nerve damage and can no longer operate his boat. He had to sell Bamp’s Hero — on the condition that the name remain.

“(Matthew) doesn’t think he’s a hero,” Drisko said at the ceremony. “He just did what he had to do.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.