In March 11 2005, Maryanne Russell Kevin Berthia, former postal worker, was about to take his life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge when California Highway Patrol officer, Kevin Briggs was on patrol.
After 60 minutes of exchanging conversations Briggs managed to talk Berthia off the bridge.
“He never made me feel guilty for being in the situation I was in,” Berthia told the AP.
“He made me feel like, ‘I understand why you are here, but there are alternatives.’ That an individual who doesn’t even know me could listen to me and hear my story and show me compassion gave me another reason maybe to try again.” He added.
According to Sgt. Kevin Briggs’ colleagues, Briggs has a gift for connecting with suicidal people. In fact, during his 23-year career only one of the attempts was successful.
“I’ve never actually counted the number, but it’s been numerous people,” Briggs previously told Yahoo of the number of people he’s saved. “Maybe two a month.”
After eight (8) years of not seeing each other, Briggs and Berthia meet again on May 8, 2013. Berthia presented the “Public Service Award” to his savior, Sgt. Briggs at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s 25th annual Lifesaver Dinner in New York to honor the life-saving work of California Highway Patrol (CHP)
Briggs was ‘very humbled, honored and happy’ to receive the award.
“I (accept this award) on behalf of the California Highway Patrol and police officers across this country who strive to do their best each and every time they receive a suicide call. During my career I’ve encountered numerous suicide attempts on the Golden Gate Bridge. Of those attempts, I’ve only lost one person. It’s something you never forget. Kevin found the courage in himself that day to climb back over the rail, thus beginning a new stage in his life. Here, standing before us, is the reason we do what we do.”