Oxford Hills firefighter and EMT Stacy Blaquiere is the 2023 winner of the Captain Joel Barnes Memorial Award, in recognition for her service and contributions as a first responder. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

NORWAY — PACE employee Stacy Blaquiere was on a family vacation in Cancun in January when she received a phone call she was not quite sure was legit. A gentleman who called himself Patrick Sullivan and said he was with the Maine Mariners hockey franchise told Blaquiere that she was one of four finalists for the Captain Joel Barnes Memorial Award.

“Being in another country, I didn’t recognize the number, I thought it was a scam and let it go to voicemail,” Blaquiere said. “I don’t know who nominated me. It’s part of the mystery. I didn’t put much stock in it. Then Patrick Sullivan sent me a text message asking me to call back at my earliest convenience.

“I called him back and was asked to do a phone, a Zoom interview with a panel of people from the Mariners, the Berwick fire department and the federation. When I got off the phone, I didn’t think I would be one of their top picks. I just went on with my day.”

But then the following week, after doing a patient transport with her PACE partner Matt Wark, Blaquiere received a new message from Sullivan. She expected him to thank her for what she does and for her time, and let her know that the selection panel had chosen another person for the award. But Sullivan surprised her yet again.

“He turned the table on me when he said ‘congratulations,'” Blaquiere laughed. “I had to put the phone away from my ear and I looked at Matt and said ‘he just said I won!'”

After a speaker phone conversation with Wark and Sullivan, she was convinced. She called her husband Mark, whose joking response was “yeah, right.” Then her parents Chris and Judy Priest, her PACE supervisor Robert Hand, and the fire chiefs at the community departments she works or volunteers with, Paris, Oxford and Casco.


Blaquiere has worked full time for PACE for a year, but she got her start as an EMT with the ambulance service back in 2010, where she worked on a per diem basis. In 2013 she left PACE and cut back on her on call service, to work full time at the Maine Department of Public Safety Communications in Gray.

She returned to PACE, the town departments and to teaching two nights a week, after the Maine State Police consolidated its communications to one location in Augusta.

The Barnes award was presented to Blaquiere  during a Maine Mariners game on Feb. 18, surrounded by her family, Joel Barnes’ family, the interviewing panel and awards committee and the Berwick Fire Department.

Blaquiere still does not know who nominated her or what information they provided with the nomination.

“Somebody said something (about me),” she laughed. “Nothing has been shared with me. All I was told, during the award ceremony, that the panel didn’t realize just how much I do in the community. Whoever nominated me, they didn’t share all of it. On the application there was only space for a little bit of information to be provided in the answer box.

“Now they’re wondering how many people they may have passed by in other years because there just isn’t enough room to give that much information.”

“Stacy is very dedicated, to the whole field in general,” Hand said. “Dispatch, EMS and fire, she’s an instructor. She does everything.”

Blaquiere comes from a long line of fire fighting and emergency medicine. Her father Chris, husband Mark, daughter Hannah and son-in-law Ben all currently work in the field at fire departments from Falmouth to Stoneham.

“Hannah is actually fourth-generation,” Blaquiere said. “It’s a family tradition.”

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