SOUTH PORTLAND – Several people from York County were among those honored at the Maine Chiefs of Police Association winter banquet Friday night at Doubletree Hotel in South Portland.

Life Saving Category

  • Paul Hall of Saco along with Scott Bean of Northfield, New Hampshire, Rebecca Stern of Norwich, Vermont and Vanessa Soetanto and Ashley Hamel of Lebanon, New Hampshire were honored for their response to an incident on May 27, 2017 on the Saco River in Fryeburg when Fryeburg officers Nathan Desjardins and Dale Stout were involved in a boating accident that resulted in the loss of Desjardins and the rescue of Stout. The officers were responding to an emergency downriver that involved several overturned canoes and the drowning of a 38-year-old South Berwick woman.
  • William Rodgers, of Old Orchard Beach and Travis Dion of Alfred along with Brandon Jackson of Steep Falls were honored for rescuing a 16 -year-old girl from the icy waters of Little Ossipee Lake in Waterboro on Feb. 4, 2017. The girl was a passenger on a snowmobile and was ejected when the operator turned to avoid open water. The event was recorded on a camera attached to Jackson’s helmet and was replayed on the evening news. The three men could be seen throwing the victim a rope which Dion had brought onto the ice, and then pulling her to safety.
  • Donald Corbett, of Old Orchard Beach and Timothy Paquette of Saco along with Romeo “Joe” Parent, of Portland, Mark Cable, of New Gloucester and David Tetreault, of Brownfield were honored for extricating Janet Heggeman, 63, of Standish from her flaming vehicle after it had left Route 25 Limington on Aug. 14, 2017 and collided with a tree. The collision snapped the tree trunk off 20 feet above her vehicle, which suffered extensive damage and burst into flames. The men, all strangers to one another, had stopped to render assistance following the accident.  They were forced to smash the windows open and pull Janet from the vehicle. They did so in the face of several entreaties from the other bystanders to get away from the vehicle, due to the possibility of it exploding. Newspaper reports indicate that Heggeman spent 9 days in intensive care and underwent several surgeries, but has been recuperating at home.

Humanitarian Category

  • James Godbout, of Saco, was recognized for “the outstanding community leadership role” he has played in the Biddeford-Saco-Old Orchard Beach area over the last several years. Of note, his initiative in spearheading the Rotary Red Ribbon Committee to address opioid and substance misuse education in area schools; his organizing the effort of removing the blighted, unsafe bleachers at Waterhouse field in Biddeford with the help of area contractors and volunteers; and his leadership in persuading the Biddeford City Council to donate a tax-acquired property in Biddeford to the Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club so that students attending the Regional Center of Technology could develop marketable skills and learn trades from experienced local contractors.  That effort resulted in the renovated Main Street home being sold in October 2017 for $225,000, paying off all tax liens to the city, paying for all materials purchased in the project, and establishing a fund to continue the program.  A second home has since been purchased and is being renovated.

Act of Bravery Category

  • Kennebunk Police Sgt. Darrell Eaton and Officer Brian Cashman were recognized for their handling of a Christmas Day incident involving a suicidal male. At 9 p.m. on Dec. 25, 2017, they were dispatched to a report of a 25-year-old despondent male armed with a shotgun. The man had quarreled with his father, who unsuccessfully attempted to disarm him before the male ran off into an adjacent field.  Before fleeing, the man threatened to kill himself, as well as anyone who tried to stop him. When the officers arrived they saw the man in the field, but he refused to stop and ran into a heavily forested area.  The officers then heard a single gunshot. They tracked the man through the snow into the woods and found him later, uninjured in a thicket. They negotiated for two hours with the man, quietly moving themselves closer. Near midnight, the man then raised the shotgun, placing the barrel underneath his chin. Cashman interrupted a sequence of events that appeared as if it was going to end in tragedy by using his Taser to incapacitate the man, who was taken into custody without injury.

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