• Today's Daily Devotion
I Jumped Off the Zilwaukee Bridge
I WAS WORKING on I-75 when told to go to the Zilwaukee Bridge; the captain of a 554-foot ship had suffered a heart attack. Then he lost control of the ship and rammed the ...

I JUMPED OFF THE ZILWAUKEE BRIDGE

Captain Gary McGhee (Deceased)

Michigan State Police

I WAS WORKING on I-75 when told to go to the Zilwaukee Bridge; the captain of a 554-foot ship had suffered a heart attack. Then he lost control of the ship and rammed the drawbridge. The only way for a rescuer to reach him was to jump off the bridge, so I did! It was a long way down, and when I landed—BAM! A huge shock wave, like nothing I had ever experienced, jolted my hips and entire spine when I hit! Crew members had to help me to my feet. I was able to bring the captain to consciousness, but he was unresponsive. I discovered he was a diabetic, so we gave him something sweet to revive him. Then first responders arrived with ladders, and he was removed for treatment. We determined that the ship had damaged the main girders of the bridge, and was supporting the southbound lanes. Though I wasn’t sure of my authority, I told them not to move the ship. Fortunately, my commanders agreed, and the ship’s company cooperated. I went back to work.

The ship’s captain sent a thank you note which simply read, “Thank you for saving my life.” If a trooper did something good, it was published in an interdepartmental newsletter. So I sent them a copy of the note and a description of what had happened. That’s when the trouble started!

Not long after sending the note up the line, my boss called me into his office. “Trooper, the department has initiated a Life Saving Award and you’re eligible—but you have to prove that your efforts saved the captain’s life!”

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I refused. “That would be demeaning. I didn’t do it to get an award; it was just part of my job!” We didn’t part on friendly terms! Later, he told me emphatically that the higher-ups wanted me to get the proof. Again, I refused, so he did the paperwork himself. When the award came it was unceremoniously left in my mail drawer.

As a result of the jump I’ve had eight operations on my knees, a spinal fusion, bone spurs removed, broken bones removed from my feet, degenerative arthritis, and a host of other issues. And of course, there was the hassle about the award! Should I have jumped? The Bible says we are to “do to others what [we] would have them do to [us].” The captain needed help, and I responded to the call. He lived, and sent a thank you note. That should have been reward enough!


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