2018-02-15 / Community News

Police association honors residents, police

The Maine Chiefs of Police Association held its annual winter banquet recently in Portland. The association recognized 31 people in several categories, including Life Saving, Bravery, Humanitarian, and named its Chief of the Year. Those included:

 Paul Hall, of Saco; Scott Bean of Northfield, New Hampshire; Rebecca Stern of Norwich, Vermont; and Vanessa Soetanto and Ashley Hamel of Lebanon, New Hampshire. All were honored in the Life Saving category for their response on May 27 on the Saco River in Fryeburg when Fryeburg officers Nathan Desjardins and Dale Stout were involved in a boating accident that resulted in the death 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, Brandon Jackson of Steep Falls and Travis Dion of Alfred were honored rescuing a 16-year-old female from the icy waters of Little Ossipee Lake in Waterboro on Feb. 4. The girl was a passenger on a snowmobile and was ejected when the operator turned to avoid open water; the event was recorded on Jackson’s helmet cam 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.

 In the 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 abuse 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 taxacquired 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.

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