RUMFORD — An East Dixfield man who
helped rescue three children in the 1940s from the Androscoggin River
in Rumford was honored on Saturday for service to his country during
the Korean War.

While celebrating his 79th
birthday inside the Muskie Building with family, Purple Heart
recipient Richard B. Stickney was overcome by emotion as American
Legion Post 24 Commander Kirk Thurston spoke about two certificates
prior to presenting them to Stickney.

The first was given in appreciation by
the legion; the second, by the legion and the legion auxiliary “in
recognition for outstanding cooperation and appreciation for active
participation in the Army during the Korean War.”

According to Veterans of Foreign Wars
Post 1641 Commander Gerry Francis, Stickney was a sergeant with Company K
of the 9829th Technical Service Unit – Civil Engineers
TECB from 1950-54 when he was wounded in action.

American Legion Post 24 chaplain Dane Curato presented Stickney with a folded U.S. flag.

“He was a hero before he went in the
service,” Curato said,
referring to a yellowed newspaper article displayed at the party.

The rescued children were Jeanne
Giroux, 7, her brother Leo Giroux, 8, and Patrick Roy, 6, all of
Rumford, according to the article. The children were playing on rocks
below Memorial Bridge when the river began rising due to water-wheel releases at the Island Division of Oxford Paper Co. There was no date on the paper, but
Curato said he believed the incident happened in the 1940s.

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Korean War veteran and Purple Heart recipient Richard B. Stickney of East Dixfield is overcome by emotion Saturday afternoon as officials from the Rumford American Legion recognize his service to his country at Stickney’s 79th birthday party in the Muskie Building in Rumford. Standing, from right, are Post 24 Commander Kirk Thurston, Second Vice President Marvin Bickford and Chaplain Dane Curato.

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