WIlliam Blais of Warren was honored by Governor Lincoln Chafee and Secretary of State Ralph Mollis with the 2013 Rhode Island Lifesaving Medal, the state’s highest award for heroism while saving human life. He was one of 26 to receive the award Thursday during a ceremony at the State House.
Patrolman Blais, as well as Burrillville dispatcher Glen Biddiscombe, Sergeant William Lacey and Lieutenant Dennis Leahey came in contact with a despondent 52-year-old man who parked his pickup truck about a quarter of a mile into the woods. Inside, the man had knives, pills, ammunition and shell casings, as well as a large fishing knife duct taped to his right hand. The suicidal man placed the tip of the blade against his chest and threatened to kill himself. Patrolman Blais approached and from outside the truck, worked to calm the man down, and prevented him from moving forward with his plan to commit suicide. He was later joined by Lt. Leahey, who also engaged the man in conversation and after an hour and 45 minutes, convinced the man to relinquish the knife.
Patrolman Blais’ mother told the Warren Times Friday that she is proud of her son; he has been humble about it, she said, and told her he was just doing his duty as a police officer.