The Star-Herald

Red Cross breakfast will celebrate County heroes

CARIBOU, Maine — Ordinary people can do extraordinary things, and the local Red Cross will honor some Aroostook County residents who have gone above and beyond in service to others during the 20th annual Real Heroes Breakfast on Friday, May 18, in Presque Isle.

The event takes place at the Presque Isle Inn & Convention Center, and those attending may also sponsor a teddy bear to provide comfort to a child impacted by disasters all across Aroostook County.  All proceeds will go to the Aroostook County Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

“These folks share a common theme of helping others in need,” said Mary Green, community manager of the Red Cross of Aroostook County, based in Caribou. “These awards recognize and thank these very special individuals for taking action and making a difference.”

The recipients in the Aroostook County region are the following.

Carrie Bull of Washburn. Steven Gudreau nominated Bull, who was at Mapleton One Stop when Gudreau collapsed and stopped breathing while in the store. She began life-saving CPR. Her actions saved his life.

Damian Languell of Wade. Languell, nominated by Heidi Thompson, came upon a young man who was in desperate need of help after being injured in a car accident. Languell saw that the victim was pinned inside his car, and as the vehicle burst into flames, dragged the teenager away from the wreckage just in time, saving his life.

Roderick and Adam Guerrette of Caribou. Nancy and Edwin Charette nominated the Guerrettes, who were driving by the Charettes’ home when they noticed it was on fire.  After knocking on the door for several minutes, the father and son knocked the door down in order to wake the sleeping couple and get them safely out of the house.  

Melodie Lavoie and Wendy Sirois of Madawaska. Lavoie and Sirois, nominated by Bob and Collette Bouchard, sprang into action one morning while attending church. They noticed a man had passed out and stopped breathing during the service.  They began life-saving CPR and continued until paramedics arrived.

Courtney Lovely of Presque Isle. Jamie Guerrette nominated Lovely, who was travelling along the I-95 one cold day and noticed a car had rolled down an embankment. Lovely responded to the woman in the car to ensure that the woman would be safe and receive the help she needed.

Lisa Caron of Caribou. Casey Bouchard nominated Caron, who was on her way to an event when she noticed that her elderly neighbor was lying facedown on the ground by her mailbox.  Lisa stayed with the distressed woman, providing her comfort until paramedics arrived.

Joey Cain of Limestone. Cain, whom Jonathan Cote nominated, was on a lunch break at McDonald’s when he noticed a man was choking and turning blue.  He quickly performed the Heimlich maneuver, dislodging the object and saving the man’s life.

In addition to the Real Heroes, the Red Cross will recognize several individuals for extensive contributions to their communities. These awards include the following.

Community Impact Award: Dr. Valerie Waldemarson and the Caribou JMG students. Apollo Grundin nominated Waldemarson and the Jobs for Maine’s Graduates group for the countless hours they have spent in the community to improve the quality of life for in Aroostook County.  These students, accompanied by Waldemarson, have contributed more than 1,200 hours of community service.

Veteran Impact Award:  Joseph “Norm” Ginish and Karen St. Peter of Caribou, nominated by Lister-Knowlton VFW Auxiliary Post 9389. The two have dedicated their lives serving veterans in their community, and over the past year have spent thousands of hours helping the Dahlgren Skidgel Farm of Hope.

Volunteer of the Year Award: William “Bill” Thomas of Woodland, nominated by American Red Cross and Lister-Knowlton VFW Post 9389. Thomas has dedicated his life over the past decade to help those in need, in the County and further afield, as a Red Cross volunteer. He has also served with many other organizations and committees in Aroostook County.

Business of the Year Award: Tim Horton’s of Caribou, Presque Isle and Madawaska, with owners Troy Chamberlain and Scott Bragdon and operations manager Chad Saunders. Elizabeth Flagg nominated them for their generosity in helping many needy people here in Aroostook County and beyond.  Saunders and the company have aided the local Red Cross and spent countless hours, and given thousands of dollars, helping out numerous community causes.

Business of the Year Award: Cary Medical Center, nominated by Mary Green at the American Red Cross. For more than 35 years Cary, working with the Red Cross, has built one of the most successful blood donor programs in New England, collecting more than 10,000 units of blood.  Cary continues this tradition thanks to the hundreds of individuals who selflessly give blood and time to help save lives. The Red Cross dedicates this year’s Biomed Award to Arlene Doody.

Tickets to the breakfast are a $20 donation each. To purchase, call 498-5050 or email  Seating is limited; purchase tickets early.

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