Red Cross honors 'Real Heroes'

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LEWISTON — Nine people were honored Tuesday morning for heroic responses to house fires and auto accidents and for contributing to community health and safety.

The recipients of the awards are residents of Central and Mid Coast Maine who were recognized at the 15th annual American Red Cross breakfast held at the Ramada Conference Center. Nichole Lajoie and Johanna Lloyd are co-chairwomen of the Real Heroes Committee. Lloyd presented welcome remarks at the event.

The Public Service Real Heroes Award went to Phil DiLuca, patrol officer of the Clinton Police Department.

Officer DiLuca responded to a “fully involved” trailer fire that required him to kick in a door and pull a sleeping occupant outside the structure.

“It feels good to know I have done something to affect a life,” DiLuca told the large audience. He modestly added, “I was doing what I was taught to do.”

A heroic effort by Joe Maher of Turner also received recognition at the breakfast, but Maher’s accomplishment required long-term dedication to donation of blood platelets. Over a period of 40 years, Maher made more than 500 donations of platelets that were required for local lifesaving, and in response to disasters such as Hurricane Maria several months ago in Puerto Rico. Maher’s donations involved many trips to Portland.

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Twelve-year-old Brayden Bashaw of Auburn received the Community Service Real Heroes Award in recognition of several thousand dollars in donations to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland from sales of pine-cone ornaments made by the boy. His efforts led to raising $7,000, well over his goal of $5,000.

In her presentation of the award, Celeste Beaudet, principal of Fairview Elementary School in Auburn, said Bashaw “has vision and a big heart,” and “he truly understands the gift of giving.”

Marcia Scott of Scarborough received a Real Heroes Award for saving the life of a man who had a heart attack while at the wheel of his car. She performed CPR on the man after she came upon his car stopped in the middle of the road.

Mike LaPlante, assistant chief of the Farmingdale Fire Department, received the Workplace Safety Real Heroes Award for his work in the placement of smoke detectors in homes, including the site of an electrical fire in a mobile home where eight lives likely were saved.

Lincoln and Stacy Wheeler of Bowdoin received the Good Samaritan Real Heroes medal for staying with a woman trapped in a car at the site of an accident until paramedics could arrive.

An Adult Life Saving Real Heroes Award went to Thomas Freitas and Ryan O’Sullivan, employees of the Lewiston Public Works Department. When they observed a young man carrying a rope as he walked into a wooded area, the two men suspected he might be attempting to take his own life. They intervened and convinced the man, a veteran, to discard the rope and leave the woods.

The annual awards by the American Red Cross, Maine Region, celebrate those who have demonstrated acts of heroism and have shown courage, kindness and unselfish character in their service to others.

Beckie Conrad, honorary event chairwoman, said the awards go to “ordinary people doing extraordinary acts.”

Master of ceremonies for the awards was Steve Minich, news anchor for WMTW-TV, Channel 8.

Presentation of colors was by Lun Honeywell AMVETS Post 6 and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Lewiston Fire Chief Brian Stockdale.

Proceeds from the event support local Red Cross disaster relief efforts.

Editor’s note: This story contains corrected information on the incident that prompted the life-saving efforts of Marcia Scott.

Fairview Elementary School student Brayden Bashaw of Auburn smiles at Principal Celeste Beaudet, after Bashaw was presented the Community Service Real Heroes Award at the American Red Cross Maine Real Heroes Breakfast in Lewiston on Tuesday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Veronica Dumais, right, of Bowdoin gives Stacy Wheeler a hug after Dumais presented Wheeler and her husband, Lincoln, left, with the Good Samaritan Real Heroes Award at the American Red Cross Maine Real Heroes Breakfast in Lewiston on Tuesday. Lincoln and Stacy Wheeler helped pull Dumais from a burning car. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Thomas Freitas, left, and Ryan O’Sullivan of the Lewiston Public Works Department receive the Adult Life Saving Real Heroes Award during the American Red Cross Maine Real Heroes Breakfast in Lewiston on Tuesday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Assistant Fire Chief Mike LaPlante, right, accepted the Workplace Safety Real Heroes Award on behalf of the Farmingdale Fire Department at the American Red Cross Maine Real Heroes Breakfast in Lewiston on Tuesday. Junior firefighter Aidan Beale is next to LaPlante. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Joe Maher of Turner receives the Gift of Life Real Heroes Award medal from Beckie Conrad at the American Red Cross Maine Real Heroes Breakfast in Lewiston on Tuesday. Conrad is the president of the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Marcia Scott of Scarborough stands with Richard Poulin of Lewiston after she received the CPR Saves Lives Real Heroes Award at the American Red Cross Maine Real Heroes Breakfast in Lewiston on Tuesday. She performed CPR on Poulin. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Clinton police officer Phil DiLuca, right, received the Public Service Real Heroes Award at the American Red Cross Maine Real Heroes Breakfast in Lewiston on Tuesday. He rescued Shawn Skehan, left, from a house fire. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

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