Courtesy of Maine Public Safety
AUGUSTA - The Maine State Police held awards on June 9 to honor troopers.
Thomas Pappas was awarded the Trooper of the Year Award. Pappas has been a trooper since 2008, following two years with Portland Police. He patrols in Androscoggin County and is one of the department's top drug investigators.
Col. Williams called Pappas "a one-man drug task force."
In the past year, Pappas has investigated several drug cases, all started from a traffic stop. A large quantity of illegal drugs, weapons and almost $30,000 has been seized from those efforts. Pappas grew up in Queens, New York, graduated from high school in Harrington, Maine and worked as a lobster fisherman prior to his law enforcement career. He is the 46th trooper to be honored as Trooper of the Year. The award started in 1965 to honor Trooper Charles Black, who was shot to death at a South Berwick bank robbery in 1964. Pappas lives in the town of Bowdoin with his wife Gina and two young children.
Others nominated for trooper of the year were Doug Cropper, Troop A; Peter Michaud, Troop C; Chris Rogers, Troop D; Jarod Stedman, Troop E; Dan Dechaine, Troop F; Greg Roy, Troop J; Josh D'Angelo, Troop K; Mark Holmquist, CID I; and Joshua Haines, CID II.
Also honored at the annual State Police Awards Ceremony on June 9:
Special Awards of Commendation to Trooper James Leonard, Sagadahoc Deputy Sheriff Matthew Shiers and Bath Police Corporal Marc Brunelle for saving a man threatening to jump off the Sagadahoc Bridge between Bath and Woolwich.
Meritorious Service Awards to Sgt. Tom Ballard, Troopers Corey Smith, Jason Madore and Adam McNaughton, and Detective Jason Richards for their role in apprehending a man charged with murder in the town of Brooks.
Trooper Jonathan Leach received a meritorious award for single-handedly taking into custody an impaired driver who pulled a knife on him in Manchester in February.
Meritorious awards also presented to Trooper Patrick Munzing, Kennebec County Sheriff's Deputy Aaron Moody, Gardiner Police Officer Nate McNally and Pittston resident William Stover for pulling a woman from her wrecked burning vehicle in Chelsea in April. Office of Information Technology staffer Shawn Hoyle from Public Safety received a Colonel's Award for developing two computer programs used by troopers.
Litchfield resident Matthew Smith received a Special Award of Commendation for reporting a dangerous driver on Route 202 in Manchester in May and then taking the keys from the car to prevent the driver from leaving. It was later determined the woman driver was having a diabetic reaction.
South Portland police officer Kevin Webster was honored for his 14 years of service to the State Police Canine Training Unit. Since 1997, Webster has been involved in 24 training classes for police officers and their dogs.
A number of agencies were singled out for their help in last June's triple homicide investigation in the town of Amity, where two men and a young boy were stabbed to death. Honored were the Maine Warden Service, Aroostook Sheriff's Office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Amity Town Manager Margaret Frye, United States Border Patrol, Dover, New Hampshire Police, the local office of the Maine Department of Transportation, Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and three staffers from the State Police Crime Lab, Cynthia Homer, Christine Waterhouse and Michelle Fleury.
Also honored were two civilians who are being credited with helping police identify Camden Hughes, the young boy whose body was found in South Berwick. Steve Scipione was the truck driver who found the pickup driven by the boy's mother and Lisa Gove was the woman who gave police a detailed description of the vehicle.