Nicole Hall, left, of Lisbon and Brittany Waterhouse of Casco accept a Red Cross Heroes Award from Alec O’Meara of Unitil Corp. American Red Cross photo

PORTLAND — A trio of local women were recognized with Good Samaritan awards Thursday for teaming up in August to rescue a young boy at Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester.

Janelle Alpizar sits on the porch of her home in Lewiston last August while recounting the rescue of a boy at Barefoot Beach on the Outlet Road in New Gloucester. Sun Journal file photo

Janelle Alpizar of Lewiston, Nicole Hall of Lisbon and Brittany Waterhouse of Casco were saluted for their efforts in saving the 4-year-old boy who fell unconscious after jumping from a dock at Outlet Beach.

“After going into the water from the swim float, he started having respiratory issues,” according to the Red Cross. “Alpizar yelled for help, swam to shore to call 911 and swam back while relaying information to the dispatcher. Hall and Waterhouse, both certified nursing assistants, performing CPR. The boy was breathing again when first responders arrived to take him to the hospital.”

“It’s a good thing everybody was where they were that day,” Hall told the Sun Journal a day after the rescue.

The boy ultimately recovered. In the aftermath, New Gloucester Fire and Rescue Capt. Scott Doyle issued a statement about the incident to praise the efforts of all of the women who responded to the emergency.

“We are thrilled for the work of the beach goers and bystanders who jumped in to help, immediately,” he wrote. “A few more seconds could have made a very grim result. Everyone did what they had to do and it was all the right judgments.”


The Southern Maine Chapter of the American Red Cross also honored several others Thursday at its 22nd Real Heroes Awards Breakfast at the Italian Heritage Center in Portland.

“We’re celebrating the Real Heroes of the community — ordinary people who commit extraordinary acts in service to others,” said Patricia Murtagh, CEO of the Maine Region of the American Red Cross. “Whether they saved lives through their training and quick action, recognized and met a dire need in their community or dedicated their talents to helping people facing emergencies, they each embody the humanitarian spirit that is at the heart of the American Red Cross.”

Other awards and their recipients:

Youth Hero Award: Tyler Brackett of Westbrook. “Tyler was driving on Main Street in Westbrook last April when he saw a deep-red glow in the window of an apartment building. He stopped to investigate. As he approached the building, the window shattered and fire erupted out of it. Tyler, then 16, called 911 and banged on doors and windows and honked his horn to alert residents. All of the occupants made it out safely.”

Blood Services Award: Tara Artinyan and Roger Guay of Portland. “Guay and Artinyan are the father and stepmother of Jacob Thompson — the 9-year-old boy who inspired thousands of strangers to send him cards for Christmas, a holiday he loved but did not live to see in 2017. Jacob had been diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma four years earlier and had more than 100 transfusions. Not long after his death, Guay and Artinyan approached the Red Cross to give back to the community. They hold drives in Jacob’s memory to help others who need blood or platelets.”

First Responder Award: South Portland firefighters: Deputy Chief William Collins, Tobey Farrington, Hale Fitzgerald, Nate Fitzgerald, Lt. Michael Mallory, Philip Rumery, John Sheetz, Stephen Simonson, Lt. Brian Smart, Christopher Swenson, Luis Tirado. “These firefighters rescued an unconscious woman from a burning Kincaid Street home in October. Some went into burning building and helped carry her out. Others worked to put out the flames, administer first aid, get her into the ambulance and bring her to the hospital. The firefighters credit their training and cooperation for the successful rescue, saying that each element of their response fell into place.”

Service to the Armed Forces Award: Camden Ege of Biddeford. “Ege has dedicated himself to helping veterans make the transition to civilian life, especially in the area of higher education. Ege, an Air Force veteran, currently works to ensure the integrity of the GI Bill as director at Maine State Approving Agency for Veterans’ Education Programs. He is also chair of the Portland Military Community Network, has orchestrated a statewide convention for over 600 to share ideas to foster better care and services and was the veterans liaison at the University of Southern Maine.”

Lifesaver Award: Biddeford lifeguards: Mira Kuni of Saco, Christopher Lessard of Old Orchard Beach, Marcio Munch of Biddeford, Hannah Niles of Saco, Tucker Weeks of Saco. “The training and quick action of these lifeguards made the difference for vacationers caught up on a rip current off Fortunes Rocks Beach last summer. Niles and Kuni were stationed there, spotted them struggling in the water and went in and started retrieving them. Lessard and Munch arrived from Biddeford Pool and Weeks from Middle Beach to join the rescue. Together, the lifeguards got all of the vacationers safely back to shore.”

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