HOULTON – When a police officer is called to the scene of an all-terrain vehicle accident, it usually is to determine what happened and to decide whether any charges will result.
But when Houlton police Officer Troy Fitzpatrick was alerted to an ATV accident last October, he found himself serving as a compass to guide other emergency personnel to the scene and providing first-aid to the two victims who were injured.
His actions at last fall’s accident site and his additional efforts as part of the Houlton Police Department made Fitzpatrick the recipient of Unicel’s Hometown Hero award Friday afternoon during a ceremony at Unicel’s Houlton office.
The award from the cell phone company recognizes the efforts of firefighters and emergency personnel throughout the Northeast.
Fellow officers and other well-wishers drifted into the North Street business throughout the afternoon to congratulate the officer.
Along with the award, Fitzpatrick received $200 from Unicel to donate to a charity of his choice. Fitzpatrick chose the Battered Women’s Project in Aroostook County .
“When I was asked where I wanted to donate the money, that was the first place that popped into my mind,” said the 26-year-old. “As officers, we work very closely with them. The resources that they offer to victims of domestic violence [are] endless.”
The BWP has outreach offices at Presque Isle, Caribou, Houlton, Madawaska and Fort Kent.
Fitzpatrick was nominated for the award by Houlton acting Chief Daniel Pelletier. Pelletier said that when the request for help first came in last fall, the caller was not quite sure of the location of the accident. After hearing a description, Fitzpatrick recognized the location as a trail just off the Foxcroft Road in Houlton.
“Troy had a general idea about where the accident occurred, and he headed there and kept searching until he found the victims,” the acting chief explained.
“At any given time, anyone can be a local hero,” he continued. “But that day, Troy took it upon himself to go on what little information he had and stick with it and find those victims. He located the accident site and stayed there with the two injured people and directed additional personnel to the scene. He used his training to assist the injured and help package them for transport to the hospital.”
The two victims have recovered from their injuries.
The officer, who has been with the Houlton Police Department for more than four years, was pleased with the accolade.
“It really is a great honor,” he said Friday.