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    Guardsmen’s Quick Action Saves Life

    Guardsmen’s Quick Action Saves Life

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Dakota Helvie | Guardsmen save a young woman from committing suicide the afternoon of May 25, 2020...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Dakota Helvie 

    Kansas Adjutant General's Department

    Driving through rains storms from Leawood towards Lawrence on Kansas Highway 10, Spc. Darin McQueen, Headquarters Company, 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 137th Infantry Regiment, Kansas Army National Guard tank loader, noticed a young girl who appeared to be sitting on a bridge with her feet hanging off the side and immediately told Staff Sgt. Joshua Thompson, Detachment 1, Company C, 2-137th non-commissioned officer in charge.

    The Soldiers mobilized in Lawrence are currently assisting with a food packaging and distribution mission as part of the Kansas National Guard COVID-19 response.

    “It was very unusual to see someone sitting on the bridge - when it was raining pretty heavily - meant someone wasn’t doing okay,” McQueen said. “With all the military training we attend, learning to spot indicators, this was just a more obvious one.”

    “Specialist McQueen was very adamant about stopping to check on her,” Sgt. Caleb Grady, Company B, 2-137th tank commander said. “His insistence really got us to come together to know that this needed to be addressed.”

    Acting quickly, they made a decision to turn around and assist. Inside the van, the routine for the day had changed and their training kicked in.

    “Seconds after seeing her we decided to turn around, I called our commander and told him we were going to be late returning from our mission,” Thompson said. “Giving him the situation report as we pulled up to the bridge.”

    “Every Soldier is a sensor, a reporter, this really showcases that,” Cadet Anthony Swanson, Company B, 2-137th said. “Their response was the epitome of what it means to be a Guardsmen.”

    Thompson and Grady got out of the van and started to approach her when they noticed she was crying and nudging herself closer to the edge. Assessing the situation Thompson slowly approached her asking her questions while trying to get her attention and keep her calm.

    “What’s your name, what are you doing there?” asked Thompson. “She wanted to know why we had stopped when so many before us had driven by and yelled for her to jump.”

    Continuing to talk to her, trying to defuse the situation, Thompson walked towards her while Grady went around the edge of the bridge and made his way down the side of the incline.

    “I climbed down into the ravine and got under her,” Grady said. “Every time she would look down she would see me instead of what she was planning on doing.”

    Cpl. Ethan Payne, Company C, 2-137th, placed the phone call to emergency services while others in the van got out and started to direct traffic to the other lanes to prevent a secondary accident.

    Thompson reached out his hand to her and offered to talk with her. He was able to gain leverage and when she accepted his help, picked her up from the edge of the bridge. After picking the young woman up, Thompson carried her to the van where the other Guardsmen sat and spoke to her, actively listening and engaging in conversation until the emergency crews arrived.

    “I tried to talk to her about things she could relate to once she was in the van,” McQueen said. “Tried to keep her mind off what was bothering her.”

    Once the Kansas Highway Patrol and Douglas County Sheriff's Office arrived the Soldiers continued to speak with her and promised to deliver her bike to her house. Payne remarked that the one thing people should remember in their darkest times is that people care, no matter what you think, people care.

    Emergency Services notified the family of the situation and transported the young woman to receive help. The Guardsmen then followed through on their promise and delivered her bike to her home.

    Capt. Matthew Indermuehle, Company B, 2-137th commander, commented that being in the Guard is an added responsibility to the community. When someone chooses to serve, they have a want to serve and have a selfless heart.

    “My Soldiers train to be able to handle these situations, by assessing that there was a need, and had the strong moral courage to turn around and do what was right,” Indermuehle said. “They were in the right place at the right time and able to help someone in need.”



    Date Taken: 06.09.2020
    Date Posted: 06.09.2020 16:31
    Story ID: 371777
    Location: LAWRENCE, KS, US 
    Hometown: HUTCHINSON, KS, US
    Hometown: LEAVENWORTH, KS, US
    Hometown: LYNDON, KS, US
    Hometown: SHAWNEE, KS, US
    Hometown: TOPEKA, KS, US

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