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FINALISTS NAMED FOR 2024 JOEL BARNES COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD

Tuesday, March 12th
FINALISTS NAMED FOR 2024 JOEL BARNES COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD

PORTLAND, ME – March 12, 2024 – The Maine Mariners announced the three finalists for the 2024 Captain Joel Barnes Community Service Award on Tuesday. Michael Robitaille (Yarmouth), Stephen Caswell (Richmond), and Alan Mitchell (Phippsburg) are the three first responders vying for the fifth annual presentation of the award, which will take place at the Mariners game on March 16th at the Cross Insurance Arena.

Michael Robitaille has served as the Yarmouth Fire-Rescue Chief since 2022. He has been a firefighter and a paramedic for over 30 years, as well as an advocate for fire prevention in Yarmouth schools, a member of the Shriners, and part of the Maine LAST team, which helps family members deal with line-of-duty deaths. Robitaille responded to the shooting in Lewiston on October 25th.

Stephen Caswell is the Fire Chief at the Richmond Fire Department. He is working on programing that would provide CPR training to local schools and businesses and installs sprinklers in the community.  Stephen “sees his department as his second family and loves the brotherhood and wants to thank his wife Brittany for being so supportive after he took this position in the department."

Alan Mitchell is part of Phippsburg Fire and Rescue. He’s spent 13 years for the department and has been an EMT for ten. Mitchell sits on a board that gives scholarships to students interested in the field of EMS, firefighting, or nursing. Mitchell also attended the funeral of Joel Barnes in 2019.

The Maine Mariners and Teamsters Local 340 have handed out the Captain Joel Barnes Community Service Award to a worthy local fire to EMS responder annually since 2020, making this year the fifth iteration of the award. Last year, Stacy Blaquiere of Paris, Oxford, and Casco Fire Department and PACE Ambulance took home the award, joining previous winners Josh Pobrislo (2022), Robert Dorr (2021), and Matt St. Pierre (2020).

In memory of fallen Berwick Fire Captain Joel Barnes, the award seeks to recognize a Maine first responder who best embodies the heroism and passion for the community shared by Barnes. It was conceived in the fall of 2019, a few months after Captain Barnes passed away as the result of injuries sustained during a fire rescue in Berwick, Maine, in which Barnes saved the life of a fellow firefighter.

“Each year, this award introduces us to the wonderful people that keep our community safe,” said Maine Mariners President Adam Goldberg. “They are always so incredibly humble that awards are one of the only ways to get these heroes into the spotlight they deserve. Thank you to all the nominators, nominees, and winner for helping to keep the memory of Captain Joel Barnes and his ultimate sacrifice.”

Of the three finalists, this year’s winner will be announced during the 2nd intermission the Mariners game on Saturday, March 16th at 6 PM against the Reading Royals. The announcement will come in conjunction with the annual Battle of the Badges tournament, which will take place before the Mariners game on Saturday from 7 AM – 3 PM. Fans can purchase tickets to Saturday’s game through this FEVO offer, with admission included for Battle of the Badges and a portion of each ticket sold going to the Joel Barnes Memorial Fund. 

Single game tickets for all regular season home games are on sale at MarinersOfMaine.com or at the Hammond Lumber Company Box Office inside the Cross Insurance Arena. More information on ticket packages and group discounts can be found by calling 833-GO-MAINE or visiting the Mariners front office at 94 Free St. in Portland. The 2023-2024 season is presented by Hannaford to Go.

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