Fifteen-year-old Gabe Stinson, at far right, gets a standing ovation from the Maine School Administrative District 75 School Board Thursday for his role in saving the life of a man trapped in freezing water under a riding lawnmower in Bowdoin on Dec. 18. Darcie Moore / The Times Record

TOPSHAM — A Mt. Ararat High School Student and a bus driver were recognized Thursday for saving the life of an elderly man who was trapped under a riding mower in frigid water Dec. 18.

Bus driver Connie Lalier was driving on East Burrough Road in Bowdoin when she spotted the mower, which had flipped over into a large ditch filled with freezing water. The operator, Ed Tynes, who had been plowing, was pinned in the water under the tractor.

Lalier got off the bus and found Tynes trapped, but couldn’t push the mower off him herself.

That’s when high school student Gabe Stinson got off the bus and waded into the waste-deep water to help Lalier free Tynes, who was shaking uncontrollably.

“I jumped out and noticed there was a guy under his tractor,” the 6-foot-3 teen said. “We both worked together getting him out from under the tractor. I lifted the front up just a little to get his legs out from underneath it. We moved it off to the side and we pulled him out.”

Stinson said it was instinct to jump into action that morning and he didn’t think twice.

After the rescue, he boarded another school bus, still soaked, to go to school. Lailer was sent back with her bus so she could get into warm clothes

Gabe Stinson, 15, stands in a hallway at Mt. Ararat High School Thursday after honored by the school board for his role in saving an elderly man trapped under his riding lawnmower last month. Darcie Moore / The Times Record

“Please know that we are so grateful to Connie Lailer and Gabe Stinson for their kindness and care,” Annette Tynes, Ed Tynes’ daughter-in-law, wrote in a letter to Superintendent Shawn Chabot. “We lost my mother-in-law, his wife of more than 50 years, earlier in the year, so I’d like to think that Dad has many guardian angels now including Connie and Gabe.”

Her father-in-law was treated and released from the hospital that same day and is fully recovered, she said.

Stinson’s actions drew recognition and a standing ovation at the Maine School Administrative District 75 school board meeting Thursday. Lalier was also recognized but wasn’t able to attend the meeting.

The school board also recognized school bus driver Cathy Normand on Thursday. She was driving in Brunswick on Dec. 13 when a Harpswell student started showing signs of a seizure.

According to School Board Chairwoman Linda Hall, Normand pulled over and followed the medical protocol. The other students were taken to school on another bus and Normand stayed with the student until they were taken to a hospital by ambulance.

Maine School Administrative District 75 school bus driver Cathy Normand and Mt. Ararat High School student Gabe Stinson were both recognized for helping helping in emergency situations last month. Darcie Moore / The Times Record







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