ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - Two men received a high honor Tuesday from the St. Paul Police Department for helping to save a woman from jumping off the Dale Street Bridge over Interstate 94 last August.
Chief Todd Axtell presented William Boursaw and Kelando Roberts with the Chief’s Award for Valor, presented to civilians who risk their lives for others.
“There were many citizens who were there to assist you on that day, however you two gentlemen were there from the beginning until the end and worked tirelessly to help save this woman’s life,” Axtell said.
Both Boursaw and Roberts held on to the woman as she stood on a precarious perch above the interstate.
“It was terrifying for me holding onto her,” Williams told Fox 9. “One slip, and her life was hanging in my hands.”
“He was holding on to her shirt, but she almost broke his grip,” Roberts said. “I had to come kneel down in all of those people. I lifted the fence as much as possible to grab the back of her shorts, I didn’t let go. Even though they were cutting the fence, I didn’t let go.”
Axtell mentioned that the neighbors’ selfless act, and those of others, came at a tense time for police-community relations in St. Paul. Just weeks before the incident, crowds had gathered on the Dale Street Bridge as volatile protests after the death of Philando Castile unfolded underneath them.
The men said they were proud to come together with police and other community members to make a difference.
“I’d like it to be known as a combined effort between us, the community and the members of the St. Paul Police Department, because it was all a team effort,” Boursaw said.
The men tell Fox 9 they haven’t seen or spoken to the woman since they helped save her life, but often think about her and pray for her.