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Searsport man saved by good Samaritan with service dog

By Fran Gonzalez | Jul 05, 2019
Photo by: Fran Gonzalez Good Samaritan Priscilla Sovis, Dave Hills and Eze's (pronounced eyes), pose for a photo at the Searsport Police Station July 2.

Searsport — Eighty five-year-old Dave Hills says he's not very religious, adding, "My church is down by the ocean."

He went for a walk on Saturday evening, June 22, behind the Full Gospel Church on Main Street and down a steep wooded path that leads to the water, where he sat on a familiar log to think.

After a while, Hills, a retired Mount View history teacher who taught driver's education in summers, decided to "hop off the log and go home and watch the Red Sox lose again."

He said his arms suddenly became "useless" and he could not summon the strength to get up. He "rolled around in the seaweed" before realizing the tide was coming in. He was "horrified."

"I always wanted to have my ashes spread over the water," he said. "I now imagined myself floating towards Islesboro."

It seem like two hours passed, he said, when finally he saw a woman with a dog walking on the shore and called to her. She came over and called an ambulance on her cellphone, which quickly arrived and took him to Waldo County General Hospital.

Hills discovered at the hospital he had suffered a heart attack and also had a bladder infection. He was later transferred to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

Priscilla Sovis of Searsport, the woman who made the call for help, said she usually walks the beach with her fiancé's service dog, Eze's (pronounced eyes), twice a day.

"I heard him hollering and didn't know what to expect," she said. "Being alone, you are a little nervous to approach someone."

The interaction between the two humans became a bit less of an issue because Eze's was there, said the dog's owner, Charlie Caruso.

Eze's is a little less than a year old. A Mastiff service dog with an easygoing demeanor, she was trained by the military police and has a badge to prove it, Caruso said.

"She was provided to me by the U.S. government," and is trained in terrain analysis, he said.

When Hannah Flachsbart, the on-duty emergency medical technician, arrived with driver Jacob King and Brian Warren, a member of the Searsport Fire Department, Hills was hypothermic and lying in the water.

She said they used the "Mega-mover" apparatus, a portable transport unit, to lift Hills out of the water and up the steep trail with the assistance of a Searsport Fire Department crew.

Searsport Police Officer Greg Jones alerted Chief Dick LaHaye about the incident and recommended Sovis be recognized for her efforts.

LaHaye plans to send a full report of Sovis' actions to the Chiefs of Police Association, as worthy of receiving a plaque for acts of good service within the community. The association will review all recommendations and recognize people in February next year.

The chief said he was also giving Hills a TracFone and told him to dial 911 in any emergency in the future.

Hills, also a former Merchant Marine, a Navy recruit and pilot, said he is doing pretty well now, getting back strength in his legs and arms.

"I am awfully glad you took a walk that day," he said to his rescuers. "You guys are all heroes."

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Jennifer Hill | Jul 05, 2019 10:03

Dave is a great guy - thank you to all who helped!

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