PORTLAND, ME – March 4, 2020 – Hampden Firefighter Lieutenant Matthew St. Pierre was named the recipient of the Captain Joel Barnes Community Service Award in a ceremony at the Cross Insurance Arena during the 2nd intermission of Sunday’s Mariners game against the South Carolina Stingrays. St. Pierre was selected out of three finalists, narrowed down from nominations submitted from all over the state of Maine, of local firefighters and first responders who carry on the legacy of a hero gone too soon.
Sunday was the one year anniversary of the tragic death of Captain Joel Barnes of the Berwick Fire Department. Barnes, who was just 32 years old perished from injuries sustained while saving another firefighter’s life, while fighting a fire in Berwick on March 1st, 2019.
“Winning this award is an incredible honor and a very humbling experience,” said St. Pierre. “Being chosen by a committee of Joel’s peers and being told I embody his spirit by those closest to him is surreal. I will spend the rest of my days cherishing this award while continuing to honor and uphold the high standards that were the foundation of the person it is named after.”
The Mariners, Teamsters Local 340 and the Berwick Firefighters Association came together to create the Captain Joel Barnes Community Service Award in October of 2019, accepting nominations through the Mariners website. Nominations were open to all active or recently retired fire and EMS responders in the state of Maine with three or more years of service, who “demonstrate outstanding professionalism and service to their community, and a commitment to promoting life safety education.” The three finalists were announced in February: St. Pierre (Hampden Fire Department), Kevin Leavitt (Richmond Fire Department), and David Petruccelli (Portland Fire Department).
“The entire process of awarding Matthew with the first Joel Barnes Community Award has been rewarding,” said Mariners V.P. of Business Operations Adam Goldberg. “We have had the chance to meet so many great people that Joel touched and inspired. Hopefully this type of recognition and remembrance will remind people not to take the first responders for granted. They put others’ safety ahead of their own every single day and I am glad that Joel will forever be remembered for that sacrifice.”
Lieutenant Joe Carroll of the Westbrook Fire Department was part of the committee comprised of members from the Berwick Fire Department, Teamsters Local 340, the Cross Insurance Arena and the Mariners, which created the award, and ultimately chose the finalists and winner.
“All of the candidates were very deserving of this award which made the process very challenging,” said Carroll. “In the end the committee made a strong connection with the nomination of [St. Pierre]. His ongoing efforts and dedication to the community through public education and training made him a natural fit for the award and truly embodied that of Captain Barnes.”
Over 3,600 turned out to see the Mariners fall in a highly entertaining game to the ECHL-leading Stingrays, 6-4 on Sunday afternoon. It was the largest Sunday crowd in Mariners franchise history.
The Mariners are home twice this weekend, playing Friday and Sunday at the Cross Insurance Arena. Friday night is “Throwback Night/80s Night,” presented by Partners Bank. The Mariners will wear vintage AHL Mariners jerseys with the orange, white, and black color scheme, which are up for auction via Handbid now, running until the end of the 3rd period on Friday. It’s also a 1-2-3 Friday: $1 Aquafina, $2 Pepsi products, and $3 Bud Lights through the start of the 2nd period. Throwback Weekend continues on Sunday, March 8th with “I Love the 90s” against Worcester at 3 PM, also featuring a postgame full team autograph session.
Groups of 10 or more can get discounted tickets by calling 833-GO-MAINE. Individual tickets can be purchased at MarinersOfMaine.com, at the Trusted Choice Box Office inside the Cross Insurance Arena, or by calling 207-775-3458. All Saturday and Sunday home games also feature the Family Four Pack – four tickets, four food and drink vouchers, and four Mariners beverage koozies, starting at $80, and must be purchased in advance.