2015-05-22 / Community

Local officers honored as Red Cross Real Heroes

By Duke Harrington Staff Writer

KENNEBUNK — The American Red Cross of Maine has honored two Kennebunk police officers as “local heroes,” saying they typify a commitment to go “above and beyond in service to others.”

Officers Michael Tucci and Matthew Harrington were among six individuals and one organization feted by the Red Cross at its annual Real Heroes Breakfast, held May 7 at the Italian Heritage Center in Portland. Maine’s First Lady, Ann LePage, hosted the event.

Receipt of the Red Cross’ Public Safety Award began with a routine traffic stop on Fletcher Street at 6:53 p.m. on Saturday, July 26, 2014.

After collecting the usual documents from the driver, Officer Harrington had returned to his cruiser to run a license check when he heard the man’s wife begin to scream.

Rushing back to the stopped vehicle, Harrington found the driver unresponsive and lacking a pulse. He called for backup, pulled the driver from the vehicle, and began CPR.

Officer Tucci arrived less than a minute later and used an automated defibrillator to revive the man.

“Officer Harrington, using his training as an intermediate emergency medical technician, coordinated the lifesaving effort,” Kennebunk Police Chief Robert Mackenzie said in a statement at the time.

“He and Officer Tucci made use of the tools provided to them by the citizens of Kennebunk, in this case an AED and appropriate training. This resulted in saving the life of a longtime area resident.”

Mackenzie could not be reached for comment regarding the latest honor.

However, the department posted the news to its Facebook page, garnering more than 130 “likes” in only a few hours.

“I know you’d say, ‘I was only doing my job.’ True, but it is your training and quick thinking plus your ‘save-a-life’ action that made a difference in many peoples’ lives,” read one congratulatory comment.

Also honored by the Red Cross May 7 were Animal Rescue Hero Mitchell Bechard of Saco, a 16-year-old who prevented a family dog from being swept into the ocean; Blood Services Hero Melissa Bourque of Portland, named posthumously for her drive to collect more than 200 units of blood as a Red Cross spokesman during her battle with cancer; and Life-Saving Hero Ryan Chessie of Saco, who saved two lives in less then two months, first by preventing his mother-in-law from choking and second by performing CPR on an unresponsive man.

Additionally, Ellin Ruffner of Yarmouth won the Red Cross Volunteer Award, while Unum got the Red Cross Corporate Partner Award.

Meanwhile, KPD honored another of its own recently, holding a farewell reception for Detective David Jamieson, who retired after 20 years with the department and will be moving with his family to Florida. Among his parting honors, Jamieson was presented with a state flag flown over the capitol building in Augusta in his honor.

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