Kennebunkport Highway Department employee Matthew Philbrick saw a person stuck in waist-deep water on School Street earlier this month and stopped to help, as did resident Brian Fairfield. Both were awarded commendations for their rescue efforts from the Board of Selectmen on Jan. 14. Courtesy Photo/Town of Kennebunkport

KENNEBUNKPORT – A town employee who stopped to help a resident who had fallen into the water and a passerby, who saw what was taking place and also stopped to lend a hand, were recognized for their efforts in rescuing the resident in early January.

Public Works employee Matthew Philbrick and resident Brian Fairfield were both issued commendations by the board of selectmen on Thursday, Jan. 14.

Philbrick was out treating icy roads on Jan. 6 when he saw a resident who had fallen into waist-deep water in a drainage area off School Street, unable to get out of the icy-cold water. Philbrick stopped to help and his action saved the resident from serious life-threatening injury, according to a statement from selectmen.

Fairfield was driving by when he saw what was transpiring and stopped to help. He assisted Philbrick with the rescue, found the resident’s dog, returned the animal to its home and assured the resident’s spouse that the patient was being treated by Kennebunkport EMS, selectmen said. The  name of the individual who was rescued was not disclosed.

“Sometimes when you’re doing your job, you see something and need to make a decision,” said Public Works Director Michael Claus of what had transpired. He said Philbrick saw what had happened that day and took quick action.

“He stopped and took care of it,” Claus said of Philbrick, who works for the highway division of the public works department.. Claus said Kennebunkport Fire Chief John Everett told him the situation could have been very bad, had Philbrick not seen the resident in the water.

The two commendations cite, “in recognition of the valor demonstrated by a person in a meritorious lifesaving act.”

“That’s tremendous Brian –  both of you guys,” said selectman Ed Hutchins, addressing Fairfield, who attended the online meeting, “This goes to show the caliber of people who live and work in this town.”

“It’s a great town,” said Fairfield, who attended the online meeting. “I’m glad to be a part of it.”

“It’s comforting to have people like these two gentlemen here,” said selectman Patrick Briggs. “You know you’re not alone, and know if you’re in trouble, someone will help you out. It’s what makes this a nice, pleasant town.”

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