State police has first awards ceremony
CONCORD - The New Hampshire State Police Friday honored its own, and a few other people, at its first awards ceremony.
State Police Col. Robert Quinn said the ceremony and awards were to recognize 'extreme acts of compassion, heroism and bravery' of officers and the public who went above and beyond the call of duty.
Safety Commissioner John Barthelmes, who noted he left New Hampshire for a regional post for a brief time after serving as state police colonel, assured everyone: 'My heart has never left.'
He praised the state police, saying: 'They're here first and foremost to serve the citizens of New Hampshire.'
This was the first such ceremony, although Quinn promised there would be another next August, so some of the commendations were for actions as far back as 2006.
The award for the most recent event, a lifesaving award for actions June 11, 2011, went to New Hampshire Hospital Security Chief Frank N. Harris and two nurses, Justin Souther and Anita Downs, who together saved the life of a co-worker who had suffered a seizure and stopped breathing in the break room at the state hospital.
Another lifesaving award went to Sgt. Lawrence Bolduc, who was off duty Sept. 30, 2010, when he saw three girls along the side of the road in Weare and discovered one was not breathing. He performed mouth-to- mouth resuscitation and Brianna Letourneau finally took a breath.
Letourneau and her family were on hand Friday, and she pinned on Bolduc's award.
Ian Erhard and family members were present for the lifesaving award presented to Sgt. Todd Cohen, who went into the water July 5, 2009, behind the McIndoe Falls hydro dam in Monroe to rescue Erhard and another youth whose canoe had overturned. The two, wearing personal flotation devices, were hanging onto a cable above the dam, but were tiring.
Another lifesaving award went to Trooper Thomas Lombardi and to pilot Mark Johnson, who was unable to attend, who made a difficult plane landing and rescue Sept. 3, 2010, of Ernest Roy, who had suffered a heart attack at 4,400 feet elevation on Mount Adams. They were able to deliver Roy to an ambulance pickup point in 90 minutes. Roy, who would not have survived a long overland rescue, pinned on Lombardi's award.
Trooper 1st Class Peter W. Gould, with his now retired K-9 partner Ghenghis, received a lifesaving award for his rescue of a woman lost in a 1,500-acre wooded area in Nottingham. Col. Quinn said the woman, from a nudist camp, was 'ill-equipped to spend a night in the woods' and too exhausted to walk, so Gould gave her his jacket and carried her on his back about 150 yards to a rescue vehicle.
Other lifesaving awards went to troopers Francesco Campo, Michael Feniauer, Seth Gahr and Stephen Sloper and nurse Anne Vanhirtum.
A personal sacrifice award went to Trooper Peter McConnell, who sustained a broken leg and other injuries when assaulted by two men as he tried to make an arrest April 30, 2006, in Alstead.
McDonnell continued to try to subdue the arrest target, finally using a Taser, but was out of work for 19 months with his injuries.
Medals of Valor went to Sgts. David Hinkell and Phillip Gaiser.
Official commendations went to troopers who dealt with five separate incidents: Sgt. Steven M. Cooper, Trooper 1st Class Daniel E. Needham and Trooper David M. Kane; Sgt. John C. Marasco and Trooper 1st Class Richard B. Spaulding, who was unable to attend; troopers Joseph M. Ebert and Robert J. Lefoley; Troopers Stanley D. Dombrowski and Christopher J. Kelby; and troopers James R. Fogarty and Joseph M. Shackford.
Director's Awards went to Sgt. Matthew Shapiro and Trooper Gary Ingham.