May 27, 2018
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Police who rescued 2 children from deadly situation among those honored by Red Cross

By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — They pulled two young children from danger after a tragedy in Old Town, rescued a woman from rising water after her car plunged into a river, and rendered medical aid to comrades and total strangers in high-pressure situations.

The American Red Cross Pine Tree Chapter recognized nine Mainers for their heroic lifesaving efforts at its Real Heroes Awards breakfast Thursday morning in Brewer.

• Old Town police Sgt. Michael Hashey and Detective Jamie Slauenwhite took the first award. They were on duty when an Old Town man fatally stabbed his pregnant girlfriend, sparking a police standoff at his downtown apartment. Inside the apartment at the time were the couple’s two young children.

Slauenwhite and Hashey eventually convinced the man to release both children, saving them from harm and removing them from the traumatic scene inside. The standoff ended when police shot and killed the man.

Hashey said police did a good job handling that situation, but that they were only doing their duty. “Any police officer in the state would have done the same thing.”

• Kirk Sperrey of Clifton, a Winlectric employee, also received an award for his role in saving the life of another Clifton man after a freak ATV accident. Andrew Stearns was trying to pull a metal sign bracket from a tree using his ATV. When the bracket came loose, it struck Stearns in the head, opening up a huge wound.

Sperrey passed by the scene on Route 9 moments after it happened. Along with Stearns’ wife, who saw the incident, he helped control the bleeding from Stearns’ head until emergency crews arrived.

Stearns’ recovery from the accident was slow, but he was well enough to attend Thursday’s event alongside his wife.

In a video played prior to receiving his award, Sperrey said the day’s events were “all kind of a blur,” adding that hero was “too big of a word. I was just a neighbor.”

• Bonnie Martin and her daughter, Ashley Patterson, were waiting at a stop light on Hogan Road near the Bangor Mall when a van driven by an elderly man struck two Canadian sisters who were crossing the road. Martin and her daughter, who both work in health care, rendered medical aid to the injured pedestrians until medics arrived.

The Canadian sisters both survived serious injuries from the crash, which happened in November 2012, but their rehabilitation continues. They traveled from New Brunswick to attend Thursday’s event.

• When an elderly Waterville woman suffering from a medical issue lost control of her vehicle, crashing into the Sebasticook River, Police Chief Steven Emery, Officer Jeff Vanadestine and Junior Firefighter Ryan-Michael Havey were the first on scene.

The three jumped into the water to try to free the driver. After several unsuccessful attempts to reach her, and with water filling the vehicle, the men broke out the rear window and pulled her to safety. The driver survived the crash, but was in critical condition and died several months later.

• While on deployment at a Southeast Asian military base last year, Master Sgt. Arthur Unobskey of the 101st Air Refueling Wing noticed that his colleague, Maj. Jeffrey Plourde, didn’t look well. Plourde thought he was just suffering from a flu bug, but doctors later found he was suffering from two pulmonary emboli and an enlarged heart.

The only emergency care available was through local civilian health practitioners, who had to be called to the base. Unobskey rendered first aid until they arrived and then helped bridge the language barrier to ensure his colleague got the help he needed.

Ellsworth Moose Lodge No. 2698 received an award for its blood collection efforts. The group formed in 2012 and reached out to the Red Cross in hopes of helping by launching an annual blood drive in the Ellsworth community, bringing in 200 additional units of blood, according to the Red Cross. Members also have volunteered to assist with other Red Cross drives in the area.

WABI-TV5 received the Extra Mile Award for being a corporate supporter of the Real Heroes event for more than 15 years. The station also has helped the Red Cross produce videos for the awards breakfast.

Real Hero Award recipients were nominated by members of the public and winners were selected by a selection committee made up of volunteers.


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