PORTLAND, ME – October 13, 2020 – The Maine Mariners are now accepting nominations for the second annual “Captain Joel Barnes Community Service Award.” The award was created last fall and presented on the one year anniversary of the tragic death of local fire captain Joel Barnes, of Berwick. Hampden firefighter Matthew St. Pierre was named the first recipient of the award last March.

Captain Joel Barnes (1987-2019)

On March 1st, 2019, Berwick Fire Captain Joel Barnes was fatally injured fighting a fire on the third floor of an apartment building. Barnes, who was 32 years old, heroically saved another firefighter’s life in the process. A public memorial service was held one week after his death at the Cross Insurance Arena, with over 7,000 people attending. Barnes had served with the Berwick Fire Department for two years and was the Training Officer for the Department.

In the fall of 2020, the Mariners, Teamsters Local 340 and the Berwick Firefighters Association partnered to create the “Captain Joel Barnes Community Service Award.” The award sought to recognize an individual who embodies the spirit and dedication of Captain Barnes.

The finalists for last season’s award were Kevin Leavitt (Richmond Fire Department), David Petruccelli (Portland Fire Department), and Matthew St. Pierre (Hampden Fire Department). St. Pierre was chosen as the winner and presented with the award on March 1st, 2020, before a Mariners home game against the South Carolina Stingrays.

Matthew St. Pierre (right) was named the first recipient of the Captain Joel Barnes Community Service Award on March 1st, 2020

Lieutenant Joe Carroll of the Westbrook Fire Department, who was on the committee tasked with choosing a winner said the following about the pick of St. Pierre:

“All of the candidates were very deserving of this award which made the process very challenging. 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.”

St. Pierre will be a part of the committee that will choose the 2021 award recipient.

In order to meet the criteria for nomination, the individual must be a fire or EMS responder in the state of Maine, have at least three years of experience and be either active or recently retired (within the last three years), demonstrate outstanding professionalism and service to their community, and a commitment to promoting life safety education. Nominations for the 2021 Joe Barnes Community Service Award can be submitted at, with a submission deadline of December 31st, 2020 at 5:00 PM ET.

“The Captain Joel Barnes Community Service Award is a great way to continue sharing the legacy of Joel Barnes and the sacrifice he made, as well as recognize local first responders that never get the recognition they all deserve,” said Adam Goldberg, Mariners Vice President of Business Operations. “It was special to receive nominations for so many brave, humble and compassionate people last year and I look forward to recognizing more in the years to come.”

The Mariners are scheduled to begin a 62-game season on January 15th, upon jurisdictional approval. Full and half season ticket packages as well as mini plans and flex packs for the 2020-21 season, sponsored by Hannaford To Go, are available by calling 833-GO-MAINE. The Mariners are hosting a virtual 5K event, the “Ners 5K” from November 1-8, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the United Way of Greater Portland. Fans can register through the end of October. The latest Mariners merchandise, including a new third jersey and face coverings are available at our online store: