Friday, December 18, 2009

Unsung Sunshine Skyway Hero

Writing a blog entry like this is a rare occurrence here at the Interstate 275 Florida Blog. However, I came across this article in today's St. Petersburg Times about an unsung hero who saved a woman from jumping off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. In the spirit of the holiday season, this is an entry that brings out the hero in all of us.

According to the St. Petersburg Times article, a woman pulled over to the side in the emergency lane began leaning over the concrete Jersey barrier wall when a motorist pulled over and did everything to save this woman from jumping. Luckily, the Florida Highway Patrol came by and the story had a happy ending by saving the woman and taking her to St. Anthony's Hospital here in St. Petersburg for an evaluation per Florida's Baker Act.

Let me tell you after I read the article: This is Florida's Baker Act at its finest, doing what it was intended to do. Hopefully the woman who attempted to jump off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is getting the counseling she needs.

In this day and age of today's economy with people losing their jobs and losing their homes due to foreclosure, that plus the holiday season can drive a person over the edge. It is very sad that people who are in dire circumstances have to go to extremes like this.

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. There is help out there.

If you or someone you know is going through a crisis situation, here in the Tampa Bay metropolitan area dial 211 for information and referral to someone who can help. If you reside elsewhere, check your local telephone directory for the crisis intervention number in your area. However, in an extreme emergency you can always dial 911. Another resource would be the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which can be reached toll free at 1 (800) 273-TALK 24/7/365.

For our Spanish speaking visitors: Para ayuda llame al 1 (888) 628-9454.

On the Sunshine Skyway Bridge there are a set of crisis counseling telephones mounted on the high level main span, three on the southbound lanes and three on the northbound lanes. Below these phones is a sign written in English and in Spanish that reads: "There is hope - make the call". These phones connect the caller to The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay in Tampa and the counselor answering the phone can immediately pinpoint where the caller is located so that a Florida Highway Patrol trooper can be dispatched to the caller's location on the Sunshine Skyway. After all, time is very crucial in an emergency situation.

As for the person who saved the woman from jumping off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, who according to the St. Petersburg Times article is Guelmis Yanes, this person is a hero. This is heroism at its finest, especially around the Christmas holidays.

1 comment:

Carissa said...

The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay is grateful for people like you who share resources like 2-1-1 on your blog! Keep up the great work!