Bangor police reward resident who helped rescue bridge jumper

Posted May 13, 2011, at 9:23 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A Bangor man who helped rescue a woman who jumped from the Joshua Chamberlain Bridge into the Penobscot River last month was recognized this week by the Bangor Police Department.

Sgt. Paul Edwards presented Matt Tilley, 52, with a Challenge Coin on Thursday for his role in the woman’s rescue on April 12.

Tilley was at the Sea Dog on Front Street when a person came into the bar asking if anyone had a rope to assist someone who was in the river, Edwards said. Tilley quickly ran to his truck, where he thought he had rope, but not finding it, he ran for the riverbank.

Tilley then helped Officer Rob Angelo and another unknown rescuer drag the woman to dry ground.

“Your selflessness in assisting Officer Angelo to remove the woman from water are most certainly appreciated and are commendable,” Police Chief Ron Gastia wrote in a letter of commendation.

“It is both refreshing and reassuring to know that people, like you, are willing to get involved in order to help the police in their efforts to keep citizens and visitors safe,” Gastia said, adding, “Your actions dictate that you are deserving of the Bangor Police Department’s Challenge Coin.”

Rarely issued, Challenge Coins are presented by police to promote public relations and community policing by acknowledging citizens and employees who commit acts of extraordinary kindness or who unselfishly give of themselves to help others.

“Tilley was certainly deserving of this token of thanks by the Bangor Police Department,” Edwards said.

Attempts to reach Tilley for a comment earlier this week were not successful.