Courtesy of Chatham Emergency Services
Chatham Emergency Services Paramedic Mindy Cauley.
Chatham Emergency Services Paramedic Mindy Cauley will be the recipient of the 15th Annual Medal of Valor presented by the Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire, making her the first woman to receive the award, according to a Chatham ES press announcement issued Feb. 11.
The award will be presented on April 15 at Savannah's Charles H. Morris Center. According to Chatham ES CEO Chuck Kearns, who nominated Cauley for the award, the paramedic went above and beyond the call of duty with exceptional meritorious conduct that saved a man’s life while she was off duty, placing herself in grave danger of serious injury or death by being a pedestrian in high-speed traffic on a local highway bridge.
The incident occurred on Sept. 10, 2020 at approximately 9 p.m., when Cauley was driving home on Highway 80 from an overtime EMS shift in her personal car, when she noticed a man climbing onto the cement railing at the top of the Thunderbolt Bridge. Intuitively, she knew he needed assistance as it appeared he was going to jump.
Cauley called 911, stopped her car in the middle emergency lane near the top of the bridge, turned on her emergency flashers and responded to aid the citizen. There were no other emergency personnel or emergency vehicles on the scene, just her, her personal vehicle, and high-speed traffic passing them.
When Cauley got close to the man, he saw her and began to lean forward to plunge into the river below. Before he could fall, Cauley reached out and grabbed his arm, stabilizing him on the bridge’s edge.
While awaiting police and EMS, Cauley established a dialogue with the citizen. Slowly, the man opened up about his feelings. He told her he wrote a note telling his family he was going to commit suicide.
After a lot of conversation with little success, Cauley asked him if he believed in God. He replied that he needed a sign from God to keep living. Cauley told him that she was his sign from God, stating that she had gotten off work late, she shouldn't have been driving home so late, but yet there she was.
Hearing these unusual circumstances moved the citizen and he finally came down onto the pavement. He was transported by Chatham ES to Memorial Hospital for help.
Cauley received a written commendation for her gallantry to clearly distinguish herself during the incident.
“I was honored to nominate Chatham EMS Paramedic, Mindy Cauley for the 15th Annual, 200 Club Medal of Valor,” Kearns said. “What she did that night was heroic. She placed herself in grave danger to help a complete stranger and saved a life.”