Franklin Countys First News

Red Cross honors community members

Jenna Winokur and Sandy Lord received the award on behalf of Larry.

LEWISTON - Two local community members were recently recognized for their heroic efforts with the distinguish of the Real Heroes award presented by the Central and Mid Coast Maine Chapter of the American Red Cross. Both residents, who were chosen for their above and beyond service to their community, were honored at an award breakfast held in Lewiston.

“Real Heroes live among us, helping people in need and enriching their communities through their courage, kindness and unselfish character,” Chairwoman of the Real Heroes Committee Johanna Lloyd said.

The two community members- Amanda Simoneau of Wilton and Larry Lord of Jay- were both involved with the Sept. 16 explosion in Farmington. The propane explosion leveled the LEAP Inc. building, took the life of Farmington Fire Rescue Captain Michael Bell and severely injured many crew members as well as LEAP maintenance manager Larry Lord.

"Anyone who knows about the tragedy in Farmington, knows about Larry Lord – the LEAP maintenance director who got 12 of his coworkers safely out the building before the explosion," Channel 8 WMTW anchor Steve Minich said to the crowd on the morning of Tuesday, March 10.

Minich went on to say that Lord was not normally scheduled to be at the office building on the morning of the explosion. He had stopped in to replace some tables after an off site event.

"There in the basement, he realized something was wrong and he acted swiftly. The outcome could have been very different," Minich said.

Lord's wife and daughter attended the event to receive the award on behalf of Larry who is still recovering from injuries sustained in the explosion.

Simoneau, who is deputy director of Franklin County Emergency Management Agency, was also recognized for her swift actions that day. In addition to performing duties that Simoneau said she is trained to perform not "if" disaster strikes, but "when," she went above and beyond to help the families affected by the explosion. The explosion left more than 30 people homeless, damaging buildings to beyond repair. Simoneau helped displaced residents find places to live, replace belongings and navigate the process.

"She helped them feel that they were not alone. She invited them for meals and fellowship at the fire station, arranged activities for the children and cultivated the bonds among all those impacted by this disaster. She helped them heal," Minich said.

Amanda Simoneau was recognized for going above and beyond in her role.

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