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Fort Hood Soldiers: Strangers with Good Hearts
Story by SGT Shiloh Capers on 09/17/2019
Killeen, Texas Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Green, maintenance supervisor, 2-227, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, describes himself as being a man of faith, having a mechanic’s hands, being positive and being a Soldier.
Green has served in the Army for 17 years with three deployments. He has a wife and five children, four girls and one boy. His family and their strong bond is his proudest achievement. His years in the Army are a close second, as his experiences and memories allow him to testify to better safe than sorry’.
Perhaps no better example of this were his actions on Sept. 11.
Green and his wife were driving back from an appointment. As they were crossing Clear Creek Bridge, Green noticed a car pulled to the side of the road and nearby a small group of people. He almost dismissed it, thinking perhaps someone broke down. However, spotting the man sitting on the bridge, hunched over and one leg dangling, sparked the instant feeling of wrongness and a thought- the man was going to jump.
Not only could he jump, the man would possibly cause a car wreck below if he landed on a vehicle or startled a driver.
Throwing on the hazards and pulling over to the side of the road, Green instructed his wife to call the police. Noticing the man was distracted with the two women and turned away from him, Green flanked him from the side and grabbed him, holding tight.
What followed was about a minute of a struggle with Green forcing the man to stay seated.
He knew he had to remove the man from the edge, Green said.
“I told him, I’m going to take you down. Don’t fight me.'”
Pulling the man to the ground, Green planted himself on top, applying pressure to the airway. Green restrained the man for what he believed was about five minutes.
Green was very grateful for the women who were with him. Together, they talked to the man, trying to reassure him and provide hope and support. While Green limited the man’s movements, the women held his hands and reminded him they were there to help.
By this time, more people had realized the severity of the situation and had stopped to help.
“As I passed, I could read the expressions of fear and anxiety in the faces of the people already on site,” said Sgt. Maj. Wes Stollings, 11th Signal Brigade. “I felt if there was any assistance I could offer, it would be worth the stop.”
Perhaps not surprising, most on the scene were in the Army, since it was a duty day and on a road some Soldiers were likely to take. They were a variety of different ranks- two staff sergeants, a private first class, a sergeant first class (Green) and a sergeant major.
In this instance, service members definitely stepped up and demonstrated a core Army value of selfless service, Stollings commented. Everyone involved showed an immense amount of empathy to a man they had never met.
It never occurred to Green, who took immediate action, that September is national suicide prevention awareness month. He didn’t know that September 8-14, was national suicide prevention week for 2019.
“At that time, I just knew he was a threat to himself and to others,” Green said. “He was close to danger and I needed to get him away from that.”
After the police had arrived and took the man away, the group prayed together in relief and in hope the man would receive help.
“None of us knew him, we were all strangers,” Green commented. “There’s millions of people in the world, with goods hearts. And we care, this couldn’t have happened if we didn’t.”
Awareness leads to intervention. Or it should, that may not always be the case. People are prone to mistakes. A person isn’t guaranteed to always see the signs. Sometimes a minute is too late.
Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help. And unfortunately, sometimes, a person needs help more than once.
“It can’t be understated that there is a time when we all need help. Reach out and ask for it,” Stollings emphasized. “The amount of people that stopped that day showed how much each of us cared, regardless of whether we knew it or not.”
Fortunately, military members have resources available. Soldiers, dependents and retirees can choose to speak with a chaplain or psychologist. Behavioral health departments and clinics are designed to be able provide the best treatment with knowledgeable staff.
Various warning signs of suicide and advice on how seek help can be found on Fort Hood’s CRDAMC’s webpage, after selecting the Soldiers’ tab and clicking Suicide prevention’ at the side.
“Suicide prevention is a shared burden we must bear together,” Stollings remarked. “Be the person that didn’t hesitate when lives were at risk.”