'There's hope for tomorrow,' DNR officer tells woman contemplating suicide on MacArthur Bridge

Posted: 12:48 PM, Dec 09, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-09 23:38:26Z

A DNR conservation officer is a hero after saving a young woman's life on Friday. It happened on the MacArthur Bridge, which connects Detroit to Belle Isle.

A 25-year-old woman in distress was saved by an officer who was there when she needed him the most.

Between the parties and the presents, we often focus on the joy and fun of the holidays, but there are a lot of people who really struggle this time of year.

Everywhere you look, messages of good cheer and hope abound but what you see doesn't always reflect what you feel.

"Holiday seasons are hard," says Ben Lasher, a conservation officer with the Department of Natural Resources. "A lot of people have strong feelings, good or bad, and this young lady was having a hard time. And I was able to be in the right place at the right time."

Officer Lasher was working on Belle Isle when he got the call from Michigan State Police .

A 25-year-old Detroit woman, believed to be suicidal, was threatening to jump off the MacArthur Bridge.

"The bridge isn't very tall but the cold water, the body won't accept," he said. "You won't do well in that environment very long."

When Lasher reached the bridge, the woman was standing next to the guardrail near the edge.

"She was very upset," he said. "She was crying. She was looking over her shoulder at the river. I was quite concerned because she didn't want me to come across the barricade."

So Lasher had to come up with a plan.

"I couldn't grab her if she wanted to jump," he said. "I would have had to climb over another barricade to get to her."

So while his co-worker Steven Converse controlled traffic, Lasher stood on the bridge in the cold, talked with her, listened to her and shared a life-saving message.

"There's hope for tomorrow," he assured the woman. "It might be bad right now, but there's hope for tomorrow to be better."

Now that young woman has a tomorrow, thanks to the compassion of Officer Lasher. If you are struggling this holiday season or know someone who is, you are not alone. Visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness website here  for tips and resources.

Being there for someone who needs you could be the most important gift you give this holiday season.

If you're feeling suicidal or having suicidal thoughts, help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.