Off-Duty GA Paramedic Honored for Talking Man Off Bridge

Mindy Cauley
Mindy Cauley (Provided photo)

Chatham (GA) Emergency Services (CES) nominated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Division Paramedic Mindy Cauley for the 15th Annual Valor Award. The award will be presented April 15, 2021, at the Charles H. Morris Center at 6:00pm. Cauley is the first woman to ever receive the Valor Award. 

Paramedic Cauley went above and beyond the call of duty and performed with exceptional conduct that saved a man’s life while she was off duty. Paramedic Cauley placed herself in grave danger of serious injury or death by being in high-speed traffic on a local highway bridge. While off duty and approximately 65 feet above the Wilmington River, she talked a distraught man out of jumping to his death. In addition, Paramedic Cauley might have been pulled over the side of the bridge and could have fallen into the river herself.

The incident occurred on Thursday night, September 10, 2020, at approximately 9 p.m. Paramedic Cauley was driving home on Highway 80 from an overtime EMS shift in her personal car. She noticed a man climbing onto the cement railing at the top of the Thunderbolt Bridge. Paramedic Cauley called 911, stopped her car in the middle emergency lane near the top of the bridge, turned on her emergency flashers and responded to the citizen’s aid. There were no other emergency personnel or emergency vehicles on the scene, just her; her personal vehicle and the traffic passing them.

When Paramedic Cauley got close to the man, he saw her and began to lean forward to plunge into the river below. Before he could fall, Paramedic Cauley reached out and grabbed his arm, stabilizing him on the bridge’s edge.

While awaiting police and EMS, Paramedic Cauley established a dialogue with the man. Slowly, the man opened up about his feelings. He told her he wrote a note telling his family he was going to commit suicide.

After a lot of conversation and seemingly no success, Paramedic Cauley asked him if he believed in God. He said he is trying, but his faith was shaky at best. He said he needed a sign from God to keep living. Paramedic Cauley told him that she was his sign from God. She had gotten off work late, she shouldn’t have been driving home so late but yet she was. She wouldn’t have normally been there on that day of the week, but she had picked up an extra overtime shift.  Hearing these unusual circumstances moved the citizen and he finally came down onto the pavement. He was transported by Chatham EMS to Memorial Hospital for help.

Paramedic Mindy Cauley received a written commendation from her EMS District Chief and Deputy Chief for her conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity to clearly distinguish herself above her comrades.

Chatham EMS CEO Chuck Kearns said: “I was honored to nominate Chatham EMS Paramedic, Mindy Cauley for the 15th Annual, 200 Club Medal of Valor. What she did that night was heroic. She placed herself in grave danger to help a complete stranger and saved a life.”

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