ORRINGTON – Saturday started as any ordinary spring day in Maine would. Sunny, but windy.
“We were getting wind gusts down there probably I would say around 30-40 miles per hour and there were white caps on the lake,” Brewer Lake resident, Fred Lower, said.
The Hampden Academy athletic director and his wife, Lisa, a guidance counselor at Mary Snow School in Bangor, were doing yard work when they observed two canoers in Brewer Lake.
“You could here like a splash and then we heard screaming and from there it really wasn’t thinking,” Fred said.
Lisa grabbed the Lower’s boat keys from inside the house, while Fred prepared the boat. The two, along with three other boats raced against time to help the canoers who were stranded in the freezing water.
“I couldn’t get my life jacket up off my throat so I had my hand up like this holding the strap from choking me and trying to stay afloat because my muck boots took on water and was dragging me down,” Teresa Partridge, one of the stranded canoers, said.
Partridge said her and her nephew, Tyler Hazelton, lost feeling in their bodies by the time the Lowers reached their canoe and pulled them safely on the boat.
Orrington Fire units arrived on the scene within eight minutes of the alarm, but by that time Partridge and Hazelton were back on shore, safe.
“I can never in a million years thank them enough for what they did because if they weren’t there and they didn’t hear us we would have died,” Partridge said.
“We are very lucky to live in a community where people are looking out for each other and will come to each other’s aid in a moment’s notice,” Orrington Fire & Rescue said in a press release.
In a world where social distancing is optimal. Two pairs of people, who’ve never met, showed even when we’re apart we can still form new relationships to last a lifetime.
“My wife and I believe that anyone in that situation would have done the same thing,” Fred said.
“They’re not strangers, they’re guardian angels, if they hadn’t been there Tyler and I wouldn’t be here,” Partridge said.
Partridge added she is planning a gesture of appreciation for the Lowers and will present it to them once permitted under COVID-19 restrictions.
She added that she would like to do the same for the people on the three other boats that helped in the rescue efforts, but has not been able to identify and contact them.