Tribute set for fallen Fryeburg police officer

Fryeburg Police Officer Nathan Desjardins

A Law Enforcement Tribute will be held for fallen Fryeburg Police Officer Nathan M. Desjardins this Friday, June 16 at 10 a.m. at the Augusta Civic Center.

The law enforcement community will pay tribute to Officer Desjardins, who died in the line of duty from injuries sustained in a boat crash on May 27, 2017 while responding to a call of a missing canoeist on the Saco River.

Officer Desjardins is Maine’s 85th law enforcement line-of-duty death.

Friday’s Law Enforcement Tribute, expected to be about an hour in length, will take place inside the Augusta Civic Center and will be considered a private event per the wishes of the Desjardins family.

An outdoor location will be designated for media and will provide opportunity for viewing outdoor ceremonial phases. Immediately following the Tribute, Fryeburg Police Chief Joshua Potvin, Maine Warden Service Colonel Joel Wilkinson and Maine State Police Colonel Robert Williams will provide statements regarding the Law Enforcement Tribute for Officer Nathan Desjardins.

A large contingency of law enforcement and emergency services personnel from Maine and around the country are expected to take part in the Tribute.

Officer Desjardins, 20, passed away last Tuesday, June 6, at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston as the result of injuries sustained during the Saco River rescue attempt.

“It is with great sadness and heavy heart that the members of the Fryeburg Police Department extend its prayers and deepest sympathy to the family, friends and co-workers of Officer Nathan M. Desjardins,” Fryeburg Police Chief Joshua Potvin announced in a statement last week. “Nathan was on duty, serving the citizens of Fryeburg, doing his job and responding to a public call for help. In the course of a police officer’s responsibilities, they expose themselves to very real risks and dangers every day. Members of the Fryeburg Police Department are deeply saddened by the tragic death of our colleague. We offer our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the family, fellow colleagues and friends of Nathan.”

Chief Joshua Potvin added, “During this extremely difficult time of mourning the loss of one of my own, I have to find the words and strength to inspire my officers, to motivate them and reassure them that together we will be okay and still have a job to do. I ask that you keep Officer Desjardin’s family in your thoughts and prayers as well as our law enforcement and first responder community during this extremely difficult time.”

The chief concluded his statement with, “On behalf of your fellow brothers and sisters at Fryeburg Police; rest in peace buddy, we’ll take it from here.”

A student at the University of New England, Nathan was enrolled in the nursing program. University of New England President Danielle Ripich released the following statement:

“The University of New England is deeply saddened at the news that Nathan Desjardins, a nursing student here at UNE, has died. Nate lost his life while working to save others in his duties as a Fryeburg police officer. It was his passion for helping people that made him a gifted nursing student, and he will always be part of the UNE family. Our deepest condolences go out to his family.”

U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King released a joint statement saying, “We are deeply saddened to learn of Nathan’s passing. Nathan bravely put himself in harm’s way to serve and protect the community he loved. Today, we join with the people of Maine in mourning his loss, but we will always recall with gratitude in our hearts his selfless service to our state.”

A complete obituary appears in this week’s edition.

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