2015-04-16 / Community News

Red Cross to honor Maine ‘heroes’

The American Red Cross will honor six individuals and one organization from southern Maine at its Real Heroes Breakfast, May 7 in Portland. The event, hosted by Maine's first lady Ann LePage, recognizes these people for going above and beyond in service to others.

Recipients include a man who rescued a choking woman – and weeks later performed CPR to save another person. You'll also meet a young man who saved his dog from being swept into the ocean, and a Red Cross volunteer who has traveled to numerous disasters around the country, providing support to victims.

Saco resident Mitchell Bechard will be named an “Animal Rescue Hero.” Bechard braved bitterly cold water to save the family dog, Molly, preventing her from being swept into the ocean. Bechard, then 16 years old, had taken Molly to the beach for exercise. While running around the inlet to a marsh, Molly found herself in deep water, struggling against a strong current. With no other choice, Bechard jumped in. He reached Molly, but was unable to keep both of them afloat, so he pushed the dog to the edge of the water, and then swam to shore.

Ryan Chessie, also a Saco resident, will be named a “Life Saving Hero.” Chessie has a knack of being in the right place at the right time. While attending his son's soccer match, Chessie responded when his mother-in-law began choking from an obstruction in her airway. He performed several abdominal thrusts, and was able to dislodge the item. Emergency department staff said he saved her life. Less than two months later, he performed CPR on an elderly man who became unresponsive during a meeting. Paramedics arrived and used a defibrillator to revive the man, and Chessie is credited with another life-saving maneuver.

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