Red Cross honors County ‘Real Heroes’
CARIBOU, Maine — The American Red Cross of Maine honored six individuals and one organization from Aroostook County with its Real Heroes awards for their extraordinary service to others during the annual Real Heroes Breakfast, held May 10 in Caribou.
“Real Heroes are right here in our community doing extraordinary things in service to others,” said Mary Green, Aroostook County community manager for the American Red Cross of Maine. “We salute them for going above and beyond. Their extraordinary acts and the support of the community makes this is a true celebration of the spirit of Aroostook County.”
The community turned out in force for the event, with 275 people attending. The awards were presented at the 19th annual breakfast on Wednesday, May 10, at the Caribou Inn and Convention Center.
The 2017 Aroostook County Real Heroes are:
Bennet Theriault of Fort Kent. Bennet Theriault, 17, was nominated by Fort Kent Fire Chief Edward Endee. While traveling in separate cars, the vehicle of one of his friends rounded a corner, swerved off the road and went down an embankment. Theriault called 911 and rushed to check on his friend. The car was suspended in the air and his friend was unconscious and hanging out the window. He stayed with her and, when she woke up, kept her calm until first-responders arrived on the scene.
Logan Albert of Madawaska. Logan Albert, 17, helped law enforcement apprehend a suspect. Madawaska police had located a suspect in a theft, but he ran away when officers confronted him. Albert was walking in town and saw the pursuit. A member of the Valley Mustangs football team, he tackled the suspect and restrained him until officers handcuffed and arrested him. Albert hit his head and suffered a minor injury in the process. Police called the tackle “worthy of the New England Patriots” and predicted a possible law enforcement career in Albert’s future.
Lisa McPherson of Blaine. Lisa McPherson was shopping at the Presque Isle Walmart, not suspecting anything unusual on this errand. But while she was there, a man collapsed in the middle of the aisle. McPherson jumped into action and performed CPR on him. For stepping up to serve a person in need, McPherson was recognized as a Real Hero who embodies the Red Cross spirit of helping others in the face of emergency.
Ashton Embelton of Easton. Ashton Embelton is known as the “Little Food Angel” for good reason. After seeing a commercial about world hunger, the 9-year-old Easton girl asked her pastor if she could sit in the narthex and collect change. She raised enough for 60 jars of peanut butter that Sunday and hasn’t stopped her fight against hunger since. Through her “Loose Change Changes Lives” campaign out in the community, Embelton has raised $3,000, delivered more than 2,000 pounds of food to food pantries and has racked up 270 community service hours.
Roger Felix of Caribou. Roger Felix was honored with the Veteran Impact Award. A tireless advocate for Maine veterans, he has worked to ensure than veterans have access to the benefits that they have earned and to ensure that veterans are treated with respect and dignity as they make the transition back to civilian life. In the past two years, Felix has gotten veterans organizations and the Loring Job Corps involved in the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign.
Jonathan Cote of Caribou. Cote received the Red Cross Leadership Award. A key volunteer, he helped the Red Cross through a period of transition, was instrumental in fundraising and has helped establish the organization as a major force in Aroostook County. Cote’s work organizing volunteers and building partnerships with organizations led to the installation of more than 1,000 free smoke alarms in Aroostook County.
WAGM-TV of Presque Isle. WAGM-TV earned the Community Spirit Award for its work to help homeless veterans in Aroostook County. After learning of an effort by the United Veterans of Maine, the television station volunteered to hold a telethon to raise funds for the Dahlgren-Skidgel Farm of Hope. The former garden center in Caribou serves as a shelter for homeless veterans and provides job training in the greenhouses. The station launched “Project 16” – named for the 16 homeless veterans unable to find shelter elsewhere — and raised awareness of veteran homelessness with its news coverage. From an initial goal of $17,000, the station’s efforts raised more than $45,000.