Army Veteran Anthony Harris, a police officer at VA Bedford, is credited with saving the life of a stranger earlier this year.
He was headed home on a freeway when he noticed a man with one leg over the side of the pedestrian bridge on an overpass.
“I didn’t really believe what I was seeing,” Harris said. “I knew I had to spin back around and, sure enough, he was still on the bridge half-way over.”
Harris pulled onto the median and attempted contact, hoping to pull the man’s attention away from jumping.
I said, let’s talk
“He just looked at me and stood there,” he added. “He ended up nodding his head and jumped down, agreeing to talk to me.”
Harris believes 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,” Harris said. “Whether on duty or off duty, we serve Veterans, but I think it reinforces that we serve the community as a whole.”
Police officer 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 advised. “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.
Crisis line information
If you’re a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one, connect with the Veterans Crisis Line to reach caring, qualified responders with VA. Many of them are Veterans themselves. 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.