AUGUSTA — Maine Gov. Paul R. LePage and Rear Adm. Steven D. Poulin, Commander of the First Coast Guard District, presented the Silver Lifesaving Medal and Certificate of Valor to two Maine Marine Patrol Officers at the State House today in Augusta.
LePage and Poulin awarded Specialist Corrie Roberts the Silver Lifesaving Medal and Sgt. Matt Talbot the Certificate of Valor for their heroic actions in October 2015, when they received notification that the fishing vessel Legacy, a 40-foot lobster boat, was operating off Rockland in Penobscot Bay in an uncontrolled manner dangerously close to the rocky shore and local maritime traffic.
"These are prestigious awards that recognize the exceptional skill and bravery shown by these two Marine Patrol officers under extremely challenging circumstances. Sgt. Talbot and Specialist Roberts are both deserving of these honors for the quick and decisive action they took to bring a difficult and dangerous situation to a closure," said Maine Marine Patrol Col. Jonathan B. Cornish.
While battling four-foot seas and 30-knot winds, Talbot launched the patrol boat, Protector, and arrived on scene to assist the Coast Guard and other good Samaritans who were unsuccessfully attempting to stop the Legacy. The Legacy’s captain was seen unconscious on the deck of the boat while the boat was maneuvering on its own in circles.
Talbot executed a heavy and rolling turn to allow Roberts to jump from the patrol boat onto the Legacy. Talbot displayed superb seamanship while making two separate attempts to come alongside the Legacy for Roberts to leap aboard. His actions prevented a much worse situation, such as a high-speed collision or grounding.
Roberts launched herself from the patrol boat onto the Legacy, with no regard to her personal safety, and immediately discovered the operator was unresponsive. Roberts took control of the vessel and navigated the Legacy to a safer location so the crew from Coast Guard Station Rockland could attempt to resuscitate the operator.
"Those of us who make our living on the water, who serve others on the sea, know that the most solemn obligation that we have is to protect and serve those in distress," said Poulin. "I think there is no nobler service than to put ones life at risk to save somebody else."
Their unselfish actions and valiant service reflect great credit upon themselves and are keeping in with the highest traditions of humanitarian service.
It was later determined that Robert Staples, 78, of North Haven, died of natural causes while his boat was underway.