Real Heroes Awards Breakfast host Steve Minich, left, watches a short video about the heroics of Larry Lord of Jay, on screen, at the 17th annual breakfast ceremony at the Gendron Franco Center in Lewiston on Tuesday, sponsored by Central and Mid Coast Maine Chapter of the American Red Cross. Lord was given the Workplace Real Hero Award. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — In the moments before the explosion last September, maintenance supervisor Larry Lord walked into the LEAP building repeating, “‘Get out, this is not a drill, I’m serious, go to the meeting space’ — and he said that over and over,” Megan Goodine said Tuesday.

Sandy Lord, right, and her daughter, Jenna Winokur, pose for photos after receiving the Workplace Real Hero Award in honor of Larry Lord, their husband and father, who is still recuperating from injuries sustained after evacuating a dozen co-workers before a massive explosion in Farmington last year. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Twelve employees evacuated the building and escaped the deadly propane explosion that minutes later leveled the building, killed Farmington Fire Rescue Capt. Michael Bell and injured Lord and others.

“Larry’s a very humble and private man and he’ll probably say, ‘I did my job that day, and I did what anyone else would do,'” said Goodine, LEAP’s residential services director, presenting Lord’s Red Cross Real Hero Award. “But I have 12 friends and co-workers who feel very differently, as do their families.”

Six individuals and one hospital were honored by the Central and Mid Coast Maine Chapter of the American Red Cross on Tuesday at the 17th annual Real Heroes Breakfast at the Gendron Franco Center.

Phil DiLuca, a Clinton police officer previously honored for pulling a man out of a burning home in June 2017, helped kick the morning off with a direct message to the awardees.

“People are listening, reading, watching about the decisions that you’ve made and they’re inspired and thankful that humanity still has people like you in it with morals,” he said. “You’ve changed society or you’ve changed someone’s life.”

Fourteen-year-old Owen Brigham from Bowdoin, who had learned the Heimlich maneuver in sixth-grade health class, received an award for saving his father, Corey, as he choked on dinner.

“I’m happy for once I paid attention in class,” Brigham said in a prerecorded video.

His health teacher, Lisa Rioux, from Mt. Ararat Middle School, presented the award.

“The one thing I absolutely cannot teach is the ability to remain calm or the ability to act immediately when faced with an emergency situation,” she said. “This is exactly what Owen did. What many people do not know is that Owen actually had to perform the Heimlich maneuver a second time on one of his peers after a basketball game. Owen is a truly a hero.”

Ruth Sylvester Benjamin of Auburn was honored posthumously for her service with the American Red Cross in places such as Japan and Korea during World War II, working under the command of the U.S. Navy.

“We were sent overseas and it was under darkness, everything was classified,” Benjamin said in a prerecorded interview.

She died in October at 101.

“She was right up there with all the trailblazing women of the day; Amelia Earhart, I put her in that category,” said Dan Sullivan, a distant cousin. “She was authorized to align the resources of the Red Cross with the generals and admirals and the upper officers to where they were best needed. She commanded a team of people.”

Pamela Bois and Lawrence Foster, both of Richmond, were honored with good Samaritan awards for pulling a driver from his truck after a head-on collision last July in Richmond.

They had to wrestle open the door and work to pull him out with the truck on fire. Fourteen seconds after pulling him free, the entire truck was engulfed, Richmond Fire Chief John Bellino said.

“This was truly a dramatic and heroic rescue,” he added.

Amanda Simoneau of Wilton, the deputy director of the Franklin County Emergency Management Agency, was recognized for her work in the wake of the LEAP explosion, helping the dozens of people left homeless, connecting them with meals and housing.

“Chaos doesn’t stress me out, it doesn’t make me freak out,” she said in prerecorded comments. “I tend to have more drive at that point because I know there’s a lot of things that can get missed in situations like that. . . . We plan for these things, we train for these things, so it’s not if it happens, it’s when.”

Lord’s wife, Sandy, and daughter, Jenna Winokur, accepted his award.

Lord, who remains at a rehab facility, started at LEAP six years ago. Goodine said they talk about planning a massive party to welcome him home, something with lots of Pepsi and M&Ms, his favorite foods.

“If I could say anything to him today, we would say thank you, although that doesn’t seem like quite enough,” said Goodine. “You are loved, you are sorely missed and you are definitely our hero.”

Mid Coast Hospital also received an award for collecting 3,500 units of blood during blood drives.

Youth Community Real Hero, Owen Brigham of Bowdoin, right, receives a commendation from Omar Andrews, representing U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree. The presentation was made Tuesday at the 17th annual Real Heroes Breakfast at the Gendron Franco Center in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Dan Sullivan, a distant cousin of Ruth Benjamin, accepts the Service To The Armed Forces Real Hero Lifetime Award in her honor Tuesday at the 17th annual Real Heroes Breakfast at the Gendron Franco Center in Lewiston, sponsored by Central and Mid Coast Maine Chapter of the American Red Cross. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Ember Foster looks at the Real Hero medal her father, Lawrence, received Tuesday morning at the Gendron Franco Center in Lewiston during the American Red Cross’ 17th Annual Real Heroes Breakfast. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Pamela Boyce looks at fellow Good Samaritan Real Hero award recipient Lawrence Foster as Richmond Fire Chief John Bellino talks about their heroics of pulling a man pinned in his vehicle seconds before it was engulfed in flames. The honor was presented at Tuesday morning’s 17th annual Real Heroes Breakfast at the Gendron Franco Center in Lewiston, sponsored by the Central and Mid Coast Maine Chapter of the American Red Cross. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Phil DiLuca, a 2017 recipient of a Real Hero Award, center, presents the Blood Services Real Hero award to representatives from Mid Coast Hospital at the 17th annual Real Heroes Breakfast on Tuesday at the Gendron Franco Center in Lewiston, sponsored by Central and Mid Coast Maine Chapter of the American Red Cross. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Phil DiLuca, a 2017 recipient of a Real Hero Award, presents Amanda Simoneau with the Community Services Real Hero Award on Tuesday morning during the 17th annual Real Heroes Breakfast at the Gendron Franco Center in Lewiston, sponsored by Central and Mid Coast Maine Chapter of the American Red Cross. At left is Farmington Deputy Chief Tim Hardy preparing to present more honors. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

State Rep. Seth Berry, left, recognized his constituent, Owen Brigham of Bowdoin, recipient of the Youth Community Real Hero Award at the 17th annual Real Heroes Breakfast at the Gendron Franco Center in Lewiston on Tuesday, sponsored by Central and Mid Coast Maine Chapter of the American Red Cross. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

 


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.