Mass. first responders honored at event for lifesaving acts

The Exchange Club honored paramedics, EMTs, firefighters and police officers for their heroic acts that earned them awards in their departments


By Paul Tennant
The Eagle-Tribune

ANDOVER, Mass. — A Lawrence police officer who only recently became a detective solved two murders through diligent investigation.

Two emergency medical technicians and two paramedics from Lawrence General Hospital saved the life of a man who was bleeding to death.

A North Andover police officer faced a despondent man who threatened him with a butcher knife – but the officer subdued him with a Taser and helped load him into an ambulance, which brought the distraught man to a hospital so he could receive the mental health treatment he needed.

A North Andover firefighter/emergency medical technician went to the home of an elderly man who was suffering from diabetic shock. He and a colleague gave the some man food to stabilize his blood sugar level – but they could readily see there wasn't much food in the house.

The next day, the firefighter went to the supermarket, bought a large quantity of food with his own money and delivered it to the diabetic man.

These are just a few of the recipients who were honored by the Exchange Club of Lawrence Wednesday evening at the DoubleTree Andover Hotel. Each was designated as Police Officer of the Year, Firefighter of the Year, EMT of the Year of Paramedic of the Year by his department.

Only 33 days after he became a detective, Harold "Hal" Rogers, a 13-year veteran of the Lawrence Police Department, encountered the bullet-ridden body of a man in a snow bank near Prospect Hill last February. Through countless interviews and poring over videotapes, he was able to identify the suspect's car from the Registry of Motor Vehicles, according to acting Lawrence police Chief Roy Vasque.

On New Year's Eve, Rogers found another man who had been shot many times, this time outside St. Mary's Cemetery. His investigation led to the estranged husband of the victim's girlfriend, who could not explain why his truck was caught on surveillance tape near the murder scene, Vasque said.

Rogers "earned the unanimous nomination for the Lawrence Police Department's Officer of the Year," the chief said.

On the night of Dec. 14, "four of our best were put to the test," Lawrence fire Chief Brian Moriarty said. Firefighters were enjoying a prime rib dinner at the British Club when retired fire Capt. Leo Boutin noticed his son, Bryan Boutin, was choking. Firefighter Michael Delaney Jr. began performing the Heimlich maneuver with help from firefighter Shane Donahue, Lt. Joseph Murphy and retired firefighter Michael Delaney Sr.

Donahue got a pocket mask from his vehicle while the younger Delaney was able to remove a large piece of meat that was blocking Bryan's airway, Moriarty said.

A grateful Bryan Boutin joined Murphy, Delaney Jr. and Donahue, the Lawrence Firefighters of the Year, at the front of the hall.

Officer William Brush, the North Andover Police Officer of the Year, was the first to respond to a distraught man who was cutting himself in April. The man came at Brush wielding a butcher knife, according to North Andover police Chief Charles Gray.

Brush drew his weapon and ordered the man to drop the knife, but he failed to comply. When family members appeared behind the man, Brush holstered his weapon out of concern for their safety. He then deployed his Taser and subdued the assailant.

Brush said he didn't think about how dangerous the incident was until afterward. His training was essential, he said.

Gray pointed out police are answering more calls that involve people with mental health problems. Police officers need to have the "tact and ability to work with these calls," he said. Brush demonstrated those qualities on that April night, Gray said.

North Andover firefighter Neil Patnaude, his town's Firefighter of the Year, "treats every patient as if they were a family members," according to his chief, William McCarthy. Patnaude, who is active in numerous charitable fundraising events, demonstrated that care by purchasing food for an elderly diabetic man.

Andover Detectives Michael Lane and John Delaney made more than 80 arrests in 2017, according to Andover police Chief Brian Keefe. They arrested many drug dealers and seized an estimated 3,700 grams of heroin or fentanyl as well as $20,000 in cash proceeds from narcotic sales, Keefe said.

Andover fire Lt. Brian Wright is now a three-time Andover Firefighter of the Year. This time he was honored for promoting physical fitness, not only in his department but others. In prior years, he was honored for reviving a man suffering from cardiac arrest and saving a choking victim.

Emergency medical technicians Seth Roher and Scott Silva treated a man who was bleeding uncontrollably from a severe laceration on his arm last March. Each time his heart beat, he lost more blood.

Paul Brennan, director of pre-hospital EMS for Lawrence General Hospital, said the victim, in his 30s, lost 2 liters of blood. Roher and Silva immediately applied direct pressure to the wound. Paramedics Andre Painchaud and Timothy Mueller arrived and the four responders stanched the bleeding with a tourniquet and a pressure bandage.

Their efforts saved the man's life, Brennan said.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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