For every few acts that tend to diminish faith in humanity, there will always be at least one act guaranteed to restore it. Whether it is someone providing help to a complete stranger in need or ordinary citizens lending a hand to their communities, there will always be people that help others purely out of the goodness of their hearts.
Heroes deserve to be recognized, and such is the case this month in Dayton, Ohio, where seven people were credited by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office for their acts of humanity. One case of recognition involved Davis S. Contracting Company crew allowing local law enforcement to use their boom truck’s cherry picker in order to get a higher vantage point to pursue a suspect.
As a result of a more individualized act of kindness, Latonya Thompson was presented with a certificate of appreciation for her “lifesaving effort” by Sheriff Phil Plummer. In August, Thompson had been driving across the Keowee Street bridge in Dayton when she’d noticed there was a woman on the ledge, clearly in distress.
Thompson made sure to call the police before going to the woman, trying to coax her off of the bridge’s edge.
“I know what it’s like to be broken,” she says, easily relating to the woman on the ledge of the bridge. “I know what it’s like to feel alone, I know what it feels like to have no one care for me. I put myself in her position to let her know, ‘You’re not out here by yourself.’” Thompson stayed with the woman until the police arrived.
Thompson may not have been a boom truck with a cherry picker, but coaxing that woman off of the ledge may have saved just as many lives. There’s no telling who this woman may have been to others: whether she was a parent, a child, or a spouse. Without knowing any of that, Thompson saw someone whose life was worth living.
While recognition for her act was welcomed, Thompson said, she was just glad that she’d been in the right place at the right time.
“It’s not about me,” she says of the award. “I’m just grateful that [the woman is] here today because God used me for that purpose,” Still, to have enough self-confidence to both identify with and save a woman who was about to jump off of a bridge is extremely courageous.
Sheriff Plummer feels that community involvement is important in a relationship between citizens and local law enforcement.
“It’s very important at the Sheriff’s Office to thank people for stepping up and doing what’s right,” he says. His statement can be backed up with the various programs the department holds throughout the year, including kids’ programs and tackling the issue of substance abuse.
Whether or not Thompson received recognition from the county sheriff’s department, she will always be remembered in at least one woman’s mind as the caring soul who talked her off of a ledge one August afternoon, allowing her life to continue.
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