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    Master Sergeant’s Brave Intervention on Colorado Springs Bridge Prevents Tragedy

    COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO, UNITED STATES

    07.15.2023

    Story by Maj. Stacie Shafran 

    Space Launch Delta 30   

    In a display of extraordinary courage and compassion, Master Sgt. Shawn Stafford, operations superintendent for the Missile Warning Center in Colorado Springs, prevented a potential tragedy on the Bijou Street Bridge last December. Stafford's quick thinking and empathetic actions saved a distressed woman who appeared ready to jump from the bridge onto Interstate 25.

    The incident unfolded as Stafford was heading home after documenting a family day activity at Cheyenne Mountain Space Force Station. Noticing a person standing outside the bridge's fence with their back turned to the traffic below, Stafford, familiar with reports of accidents near the Bijou Street exit, immediately sensed something was amiss and sprang into action.

    Undeterred by the potential danger, Stafford swiftly turned his vehicle around, fully aware of the urgency of the situation. Despite being unfamiliar with the area, his sense of responsibility compelled him to return to the bridge.

    “Upon reaching the scene, I located a sidewalk on the east side of the bridge and devised a plan to approach the distressed woman,” Stafford explained.

    Positioning his vehicle as close as possible, Stafford initiated contact through his car window, calmly asking, "Hi, what's going on?" Struggling to hear her response, he decided to exit his vehicle and engage directly. With his hand extended toward her, ready to offer support if needed, Stafford tried to establish a connection.

    During their conversation, it became evident that the woman was grappling with personal problems, expressing despair and a desire to escape.

    “I focused on conveying care and concern, sharing my own fear upon seeing her on the bridge. This personal touch resonated with the woman and I gradually convinced her to step away from the edge,” said Stafford.

    With the woman's agreement to return to safety, Stafford walked alongside her, remaining protective with his hand near the fence to prevent any potential harm. While they made their way back to Stafford's vehicle, the woman grabbed her purse, symbolizing a desire to leave the bridge behind.
    Acting swiftly, Stafford drove away, ensuring her immediate safety. En route to the hospital, Stafford engaged in conversation, cautiously assessing the woman's condition.

    “When we arrived at the hospital, I discreetly informed the hospital security about the situation,” he explained. “She was admitted while I sought assistance from the staff, providing details of the encounter and emphasizing the need for help.”

    Stafford also requested the hospital to notify the police, further ensuring the woman's well-being. Although the police did not require a formal statement, Stafford took the initiative to document the incident for his own records, understanding the importance of thorough documentation and personal processing. Seeking guidance, he consulted with his commander and the Peterson Space Force Base Security Forces Squadron to ensure he had taken appropriate action during the challenging situation.

    Stafford received support and recommendations for seeking assistance from mental health professionals and chaplains. His account emphasizes the significance of mental health resources and the need for open dialogue to process such experiences fully.

    “Master Sgt. Stafford's extraordinary actions serve as a powerful reminder that suicide and mental health issues can affect anyone. It only takes one person’s willingness to provide compassionate communication and human connection to make a difference. My hope is that his courage will inspire others to extend a helping hand to those in distress, emphasizing the importance of their existence while exhibiting empathy and understanding,” said Brenda Courcy, Missile Warning Center deputy director.

    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 07.15.2023
    Date Posted: 07.15.2023 15:07
    Story ID: 449289
    Location: COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO, US

    Web Views: 218
    Downloads: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN