Editor’s note: This article contains content of a sensitive nature.
After talking a young man down from the ledge of Natchez Trace Bridge last week, Williamson County Deputy Adrian Finch was named November’s Deputy of the Month at a small ceremony Tuesday night.
At around 4 a.m. on Nov. 18, Finch responded to a call saying an 18-year-old male was considering ending his life. Upon his arrival at the top of the 145-foot bridge, Finch called out to the young man while slowly approaching the place where he stood.
Editor’s note: This article contains content of a sensitive matter.
“Let me tell you something,” he said. “You ain’t been nowhere I ain’t been myself, OK? And let me tell you something. What you’re going through — I can help you with it, OK?”
Finch said that when he received the call, his adrenaline started pumping, and he began to pray.
“Before I turned onto the bridge, it’s like a silence came over, and I was just thinking to myself, ‘What do I say? What do I do?’” he said. “When I turned onto the bridge and I saw him, I was kind of getting chills to see someone that the only thing touching the bridge is the tips of their toes, so when I got out, I just wanted to create a dialogue with him.”
Finch said he has worked with youth for many years through his church, fraternity and college, and those experiences combined with difficult times in his own life helped him make a connection with the young man.
“I wanted him to know that he’s going through something that a lot of people also go through,” he said. “When you’re stuck at a crossroads, you don’t know which way to go, you need someone to point you in a direction. I was hoping that, at this point in time, I could point him in the direction to come off and also tell him, ‘You hold my hand. … I’m here for you.’”
He said that when the time came to speak to the man, he didn’t have to think about what to say. It just came to him.
As Finch talked with the man for several minutes, persuading him to step onto the safe side of the bridge, the young man collapsed into tears and fell into the officer’s arms. Finch said he felt excitement when the man came down.
“I was happy. I was glad that he was down, and we talked some more all the way to the ambulance, and at the end, before he left, we were laughing,” he said.
If you or anyone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Staffers are available to help 24 hours a day.