Breakfast will honor County’s Real Heroes

Red Cross to award extraordinary acts, lifetime achievement award

     CARIBOU, Maine — Ordinary people can do extraordinary things, and the Red Cross will honor several Aroostook County people for their heroic acts and notable contributions Wednesday, May 11, 2016, at the 18th annual Real Heroes Breakfast at the Caribou Inn and Convention Center.

     Awards will be presented to five Real Heroes, four Young Heroes, one Red Cross Young Ambassador and one Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. In addition, 10 businesses and organizations will receive Community Impact Awards.

     The following area residents are among those who will be recognized.

     Sandy Albair of Caribou, David Bouley of New Canada, Paul McDonald of New Sweden and Jerry Thibeault of Madawaska will receive Real Hero Awards.

     Albair was waiting in a check-out line at a local store one day last summer when she heard a thud behind her. She turned around to see a man lying on the floor.

     Albair immediately told the clerk to call 911 and performed chest compressions on the man until Caribou emergency medical technicians arrived. The man was taken to a local hospital and later airlifted to a hospital downstate for treatment. This man is alive and well today because of her quick thinking and knowledge of administering CPR and first aid.

     Bouley looked in his rearview mirror last May 22 and noticed a John Deere tractor on its side down an embankment. He stopped to investigate and found the driver pinned underneath the tractor. The driver had started to dig himself out, but was in fear the tractor would move and make the situation worse.

     Bouley saw another car coming and waved it down. McDonald jumped out to help. The two men worked very carefully together to help free the driver from being pinned under the tractor. If not for Bouley’s and McDonald’s quick actions, the tractor may have moved and crushed the driver causing extensive injuries or death.

     One day last November, Thibeault was driving across the Fort Street Bridge in Caribou when he saw a man attempting to jump off the bridge. People were trying to help, but the man was not responding. Thibeault stopped to see how he could help. The man was sitting on the outside rail, preparing to jump. He appeared to be in a state of depression and was intoxicated.

     Thibeault tried to reason with him and, just as the man let go, he grabbed him and pulled him to safety. According to Thibeault, “I am so very afraid of heights and water, but I just did what needed to be done.” Had he not been there prior to the arrival of first-responders, the man may have jumped and died. The man has been in rehabilitation and is doing much better today.

     Four year-old Archer Noyes of Caribou will receive a Young Hero Award. Noyes is credited for saving his grandfather’s life by knowing how to call for help in an emergency. He was staying with his grandfather while his mother and grandmother were out shopping during the holidays last December. His grandfather became violently ill, vomiting and in horrible pain. Archer immediately called his mother for help and stayed with his grandfather, helping to comfort and calm him until help arrived.

     His grandfather was taken to a local hospital and later had to be airlifted to Eastern Maine Medical Center for blood transfusions and treatment. Archer’s grandfather is alive and much better today because of Archer’s bravery and help. 

     The 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Bill Flagg of Stockholm, who has been associated with the local chapter of the American Red Cross for over 30 years on the board of directors and as past board chairman.

     Flagg has been the director of community relations and development at Cary Medical Center for 34 years. He recently helped launch the Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Program, which installs smoke alarms free of charge in homes in central and southern Aroostook County. Additionally, he helped Cary establish the state’s most successful Red Cross blood donor program early in his career.

     He has been involved in many local and state associations, including the Kiwanis Club, United Way and Catholic Charities Maine. He has helped provide local healthcare services for veterans, beginning 30 years ago with the establishment of the VA Outpatient Clinic at Cary. He worked with veterans and others to establish the Maine Veterans Home and Residential Care facility at Cary. Flagg is now the hospital liaison with the Aroostook County Veterans Advocacy Committee, is an Associate Member of the Marine Corps League and United Veterans of Maine.

     He has four children, all still here in The County, three grandchildren, and has been married to his wife, Stephanie, a registered nurse, for 35 years.

     Others who will be recognized at the breakfast include the following.

     Real Hero Award: John Tompkins of Easton, who helped save a neighbor who had a leg trapped in a snow blower.

     Young Hero Awards: Blake Vincent of Ashland, who helped save his brother from drowning; Robin Albert of Fort Kent, who donated bone marrow to help her sister; and Tyler Fitzpatrick of Houlton, who helped save the life and severely injured foot of a friend.

     Young Ambassador Award: Naomi Rice of Bridgewater, 5, who has donated her piggy bank savings to the Red Cross to help those in need.

     Community Impact Awards, for a media and public awareness campaign that helps the Red Cross install smoke alarms free of charge throughout The County, will be presented to Cary Medical Center, WAGM TV, Pine Tree Burn Foundation, Maine State Fire Marshal’s office, Caribou Fire Department, Lister-Knowlton Post 9389 Veterans of Foreign Wars and Auxiliary in Caribou, S. W. Collins Company, Inc., Loring Job Corps, students from Northern Maine Community College and the Aroostook Association of Fire Chiefs.

     Tickets to the breakfast are now on sale for a donation of $25 each and may be purchased by calling 498-5050 or email Seating is limited and it is recommended to purchase tickets early.