A police officer at VA Bedford in Massachusetts is being credited with saving a stranger's life earlier this year.
Army veteran Anthony Harris was headed home on a freeway when he noticed a man with one leg over the side of the pedestrian bridge on an overpass, a VA blog post states.
“I didn’t really believe what I was seeing,” Harris later recalled. “I knew I had to spin back around and, sure enough, he was still on the bridge halfway over.”
Harris pulled onto the median and tried to contact the man, by forcing his attention away from jumping.
“He just looked at me and stood there,” Harris said. “He ended up nodding his head and jumped down, agreeing to talk to me.”
Harris thinks his own military service, reinforced by training with VA, made him well equipped to help people. He kept the man talking until first responders arrived to connect him to help and support.
“When someone needs help, you help them,” he said. “Whether on duty or off duty, we serve veterans, but I think it reinforces that we serve the community as a whole.”
Harris said it’s common for life’s challenges to build up and lead to intense feelings. His advice for those who see someone suffering?
“Reach out,” he urged. “Engage in a conversation, see where they’re at. Don’t be afraid to ask the question. No one needs to go through hard stuff alone, but it can be hard to reach out and ask for help. Show you care and they matter.”
Harris served in the Army National Guard as a military policeman from 2005 to 2010.
If you’re a veteran in crisis or concerned about one, connect the Veterans Crisis Line. This free support is confidential and available every day, 24/7, and serves all veterans, all service members – including National Guard and Reserve – and their family members and friends.
Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, text 838255, or chat online. No matter what you’re experiencing, there is support for getting your life back on track.
Reach Julia LeDoux at Julia@connectingvets.com
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