2017-01-10 / Front Page

Special ceremony honors citizens, corrections officers, deputies

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Senior Staff Writer

ALFRED — It was around 9:30 a.m. on an October morning when it happened; a woman came running into J.D.'s Package Store and Redemption Center, screaming.

“She was screaming 'help me, save me, he’s coming with a knife,'” recalled manager Matthew Estabrooks. 

Estabrooks said the woman had a blackened eye and was bruised around the neck. 

She was being chased by a man, who soon arrived at the retail business at the intersection of routes 5 and 202 in Waterboro. Estabrooks calmly stood in the doorway of the store, his arm blocking the entry.

“I said ‘you can’t come in and the cops are coming,’” Estabrooks recalled. The man walked away  — but not for long — sheriff’s deputies came and took him into custody.

Estabrooks was recognized by York County Sheriff Bill King on Friday for his willingness to step up and help.

“She was clearly in distress, and he offered her assistance,” said King, who said Estabrooks displayed courage and bravery and remained calm through the situation.

Estabrooks was among a number of people recognized by the sheriff’s office Friday — from a half-dozen new corrections officers graduating that day to those earning other honors, like the deputy and corrections officer of the quarter and the deputy and corrections officer of the year, among other honors.

Lori Marks, York County Jail’s classifications officer, addressed the new graduates. She was a single mother raising three children when she came to work at the jail in 2007, she  told them. “Over the years, I have learned many things,” she said. In part, “I have learned that determination and a strong code of ethics are valuable assets in this line of work.”

Graduating from the corrections program were Andre Sims, Caleb Harriman, Joy Chase, Gissette Miles, Rosario Cordoglio and Sean Wilson. 

King named Michael Perry as officer of the quarter — and Corrections Officer of the Year, “for his dedication and can-do attitude,” said King.

"We trust Officer Perry to update our policies and procedures and to train our recruits and to be successful,” the sheriff said. He said Perry is always looking for ways to contribute more, like an idea for a peer group review to mentor new officers. “This program sounded great — more important, he is interested in others success, not just his own,” King said.

Dep. Dan Shaw was named rural patrol deputy of the quarter.

Sgt. Karl Kassa was named deputy of the year.

“Sgt. Kassa is our ‘go to’ guy that never complains and is always willing to give a little extra,” said King. “After we had a critical incident at the jail, Kyle stepped up and working with jail management, organized a special response team. He has taken on additional responsibility and clearly distinguished himself as a leader at York County Sheriff’s Office.”

Bob Reed, vice president of the board of the Maine chapter of National Alliance of Mental Illness,  recognized Sgt. Steve Thistlewood and deputies Bob Carr, Heath Mains, Duane Fay and Gil Hudson for their handling of a particularly highly-charged incident that involved an individual shooting up his house with a firearm and sexually assaulting a young girl. 

“Using verbal judo and compassion, they were able to convince the man to surrender peacefully,” Reed said.

Officers marking longevity with the sheriff’s office were Hudson, Thistlewood, deputy Stan Moore, and corrections officers Chris Mowatt and Jeff Webber with 15 years; officers Kenneth Hamilton, Kurt Martin and Carlos Gonzales marked 10 years.

Wells Town Manager Jonathan Carter recognized York County Jail’s Community Works project  — whereby trusty inmates undertake supervised community projects — in this case picking up trash along  several roadsides in Wells.

The sheriff’s office and Arundel officials recognized Firehouse Subs for their donation of an automated external defibrillator, which will be installed in the cruiser of Arundel contract deputy Greg Sevigny.

The sheriff’s office conferred the meritorious service award on Sgt. Michael Hayes for his work carrying out detective duties after the detectives section was depleted in order to assign more deputies to rural patrol. King said Hayes was able to juggle his schedule to continue to solve crimes, register sex offenders snd dispose of evidence in the face of what King called unusual circumstances.

Sgt. Carl Ronco earned the meritorious service award for his work navigating a new schedule for transporting inmates after the courts adopted unified docket.

Blain Cote of the county’s emergency management agency and Shane Anderson of the facilities department were recognized for their contributions to the sheriff’s office.

Commended for their work were Dep. Levi Johnson and officers Richard Dubois, Jason Leach, Matthew Rocchio, Jason Gaudetteand Cindy Sanborn.

Julie Edmonson, receptionist at the sheriff’s office, was conferred the first Mat Baker award for exhibiting professionalism in the spirit of Baker, who served as  chief deputy from 2006 until his death in 2012.

King recognized administrative assistants Edmonson, Stacy Thistlewood, Donna Ring and  Kelly Burnham for their work.

Rounding out the recognitions were those conferred on citizens — one, Nicholas Chenard, whose father Troy is a deputy. The younger Chenard has been a standout wrestler over the past few years.

King also introduced Deb Paradis of York County Community Action Corporation. The agency and the sheriff’s office teamed up to posthumously recognize Earl Gray of Waterboro for his contributions to York County. Gray, 57, a volunteer driver for YCCAC, was driving young Wyatt Frost, 5, of Lyman to school Nov. 18 when both were killed  in a crash on the Maine turnpike when a box truck slammed into the rear of their vehicle, which in turn caused the car to slam into the back of a tractor trailer.

Joining Paradis and King at the podium was Gray’s widow, Laurie Gray. She stood as Paradis read a tribute to her late husband.

Paradis said Gray contributed thousands of hours driving folks to school and appointments since he began his work with YCCAC in 2007.

“The performance of his volunteer work was exemplary,” she said. “He was very friendly and courteous with those he worked with and generous and caring with  those he transported. Earl developed special bonds with many of his riders and their families ... Earl Gray demonstrated what a true volunteer was.”

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or twells@journaltribune.com.

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