BRATTLEBORO -- There are only a few weeks a year when Brattleboro Fire Department Lt. Marty Rancourt can truly relax.
For almost three decades Rancourt has been serving the town as a firefighter and he knows at any time he can be called to respond to a life threatening situation.
During hunting season Rancourt likes to get out of town, retreat to the woods, and take some time away from the sometimes stressful life of an emergency responder.
But Rancourt knows a firefighter has to always be ready to answer the call.
Even during hunting season.
Last year, while he was bow hunting in Ohio, Rancourt helped save the life of his hunting guide who had fallen out of a tree stand and severely injured his legs.
Rancourt's actions, which he had to take late at night after finding his guide crawling across the road, helped save the life of Troy Young.
Last week Rancourt was honored by the Vermont and New Hampshire Upper Valley American Red Cross during its first ever regional Heroes Breakfast.
Rancourt was one of nine people from Vermont and New Hampshire who was chosen from among 60 nominees.
"Our region is fortunate to have remarkable, community-minded people who give so much of themselves," Vermont and New Hampshire Upper Valley American Red Cross Regional Executive Larry Crist said. "Through our Heroes Breakfast, we will recognize the commitment of nine special individuals whose efforts have stood out."
Over the past four years Rancourt has been traveling out to Ohio to hunt during deer season.
Rancourt found Young, who is a hunting guide, on the Internet and during the past few seasons Young has led Rancourt into the Ohio woods to find some of the best hunting grounds in the region.
One night in October, while the two men were separated, Young's tree stand gave way and Young was left dangling from the tree, both his legs mangled in the wire and steel.
After a few frantic text messages Rancourt found Young crawling across a dirt road.
Rancourt removed Young's boot and saw that his foot was cold and appeared to have no blood flowing through it.
He had developed a blood clot.
Young wanted to go home and see how he felt in the morning, but Rancourt was able to convince him that he needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible.
"I knew it was serious. I told him that if he didn't go to the hospital the best case scenario was that he would lose his legs," Rancourt said. "The worst case scenario was that he would never wake up."
"Marty, at that moment, never looked back," Young said. "His instinct and passion for life was transferred to the saving of mine without hesitation. I had always considered myself an Iron Man, but he made sure I understood my iron was in a melting pot."
WPTZ anchor Stephanie Gorin, who introduced Rancourt at the award ceremony in South Burlington, said the adult and youth Good Samaritan Awards were given out to recognize the actions of those who stepped up to help someone else who was in distress.
"In the case of our good Samaritans, their conduct was life saving," she said at the ceremony. "Good Samaritan Marty Rancourt's actions were decisive, courageous, and in the eyes of the friend he saved, motivated by his own passion for life."
Gorin said Rancourt was given the inaugural award this year because his actions helped save the life of his guide during a tense moment, and during a time when he was off duty.
"Marty possesses an innate ability to act when others would be paralyzed and to remain calm and focused when nothing about the situation into which he was thrust lent itself to such a reaction," she said. "Marty Rancourt's heroism was not only evident in his own actions, but in how he provided Troy with emotional support and drive to survive."
Young has had a series of surgeries since the accident, and he suffered a stroke during one of the operations that left him partially paralyzed.
Rancourt said that while he will no doubt take more time off again this hunting season, he understands that his training can come into use at any time.
"It comes naturally to us. If someone needs help, no matter where you are and what you are doing, you help them," he said. "You go away, and you hope for a vacation, but you never know."
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.