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The miracle of an umpire's timing and caring

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The city of Pittsburgh lies at the confluence of three major rivers, but, as you might expect, the number of bridges is far higher.  

Those many bridges and the waters below often tempt those who consider ending their life's pain and depression. It's what my only brother did in the Allegheny River 12 years ago. But a miracle of timing and caring happened this week on the old Sixth Street Bridge above that same river: a bridge connecting downtown Pittsburgh to PNC Park, where the Pirates play ball. A major league umpire walking the bridge after lunch this week made the perfect call this time - a call that saved a suicidal woman. A call that proved to her that someone cared. 

It was a call that executed the “R” (Remove the means) in Forefront's LEARN™ steps with zero hesitation. 

Also, “L” (Look for warning signs) is about reading non-verbal cues: John Tumpane could have continued walking towards his job after the woman told him she simply wanted a better view of the Allegheny. But when the look on her face and tone of her voice didn't match her words, he sprang into action.

My brother loved baseball, and I only wish an umpire could have reached out to him at that moment. Maybe he, too, could have been 'safe' at home.    

Read on for the full account of John Tumpane (and bystanders) saving a life.

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Wayne Lynch's picture
Wayne Lynch
Wayne is an award-winning media veteran, published author, news writing instructor, Forefront volunteer and tireless advocate for responsible reporting on mental health and suicide prevention.