The DeLand City Commission and the heads of the city’s Fire and Police departments recognized a group of first responders who saved a man’s life when he attempted suicide in March.
Around 11 a.m. March 30, DeLand firefighters and DeLand Police officers arrived just in time to cut down a man who had hanged himself from the communications tower outside of the Florida Department of Transportation District 5 complex at 719 S. Woodland Blvd. The man had used a cable from the tower in his attempted suicide.
The quick response time by the two departments saved the man’s life, Fire Chief Todd Allen said.
“This was his darkest day,” he said. “For whatever reason, he felt his life was not worth living and climbed the radio tower with the intent of killing himself and, in fact, was close to getting that accomplished.”
Allen continued, “What our police and firefighters gave that man that day was a chance to re-evaluate, hopefully reflect, and the ultimate chance to live another day.”
Once he was brought down from the communications tower, the individual was rushed to the AdventHealth DeLand hospital and his life was saved.
The close relationship between DeLand’s Fire Department and Police Department is rare, and ensured they were able to work together fast enough to save a life when time was of the essence.
“At the end of the day, we’re all working toward the same goal, and that’s to protect life and property here in DeLand,” DeLand Police Chief Jason Umberger said. “This particular day just really highlighted outstanding professional work by all of these individuals, and more that aren’t even here.”
“I just can’t say enough about how proud I am to be associated with such a fine group of people,” Umberger added.
DeLand Police Officer Jonathan Jones and Detective Jackson Miller were presented the Award of Merit, the department’s third-highest award. This award recognizes officers for going above and beyond and saving a life.
In the DeLand Fire Department, Lt. Ariel Silvestri and driver/engineer Chris Murray were awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. Silvestri, Murray, Lt. Jamie Lunsford, driver/engineer Mike Mueller, and Firefighters Adam Bruce, Jeff von Bretzel, Trent Sanders and Josh Brown were also recognized with commendations.