By Marjorie Nesin
---- — MANCHESTER — Parking enforcement officer Timothy Migneault was walking along Beach Street, checking meters last Thursday, when he suddenly heard a shout from the waterfront.
Migneault, at the top of the grassy embankment, looked toward the Manchester Harbor water, past the bridge, out onto the dock, and saw an older man, nearly out of energy, clinging to his elderly friend at the dock’s edge, the fallen man’s head just barely above water.
“I was jotting down the license plates of some cars, and I just dropped it and ran down there,” Migneault said. Now, he’s being credited with saving the elderly man’s life.
When Migneault reached the dock, he grabbed the 80-year-old Boston man, whose body had been sucked beneath the dock by the tide, and yanked him out of the water.
“My adrenaline was pumping at this point, so I just reached down and pulled him out,” Migneault said. “I was like ‘OK, let’s go.’ Everything just happened so fast.”
A water-logged jacket weighed the man down in the water. But, in one yank, the man sat, half his body on the dock. Migneault radioed police headquarters and sent a woman to flag down a cruiser roadside.
The Boston man had been stepping off a midsized motor boat when, according to police, a medical condition apparently caused him to fall into the water between that vessel and another. The man seemed uninjured in the fall, but Migneault, a certified First Aid instructor, administered basic first aid until more police and firefighters arrived to further assist the man then send the Boston man home.
“We are extremely proud of officer Migneault,” Police Chief Glenn McKiel said.
McKiel, who nominated Migneault for a commendation award said, “The outcome could have been worse without the efforts of officer Migneault.”
The 31-year-old Migneault — who, along with his parking enforcement duties, works an eight-hour volunteer shift for the police station about every other week — said he just felt happy to help. Migneault, employed by Manchester’s force since June 2009, said he hopes to make it as a reserve eventually.
“I don’t want to suck up the glory. I like helping out people,” Migneault said. “It was my first time I had a chance to really save someone’s life like that. So, it made me feel really good about myself. I was glad to be able to help.”
As rescue crew arrived and took over the scene, Migneault took a few deep breaths at the station, then returned to work checking cars and meters.
Police officer Stephen Louf said emergency personnel were unaware of Migneault’s central role in the rescue at the time.
“He just finished his rounds,” Louf said. “He didn’t even realize everything he’d done. That’s how humble he is.”
Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at email@example.com.