from our partnerFaithwire
written byWill Maule
A California youth volleyball team has saved a woman’s life after discovering her dangling from a bridge during after-school practice.
The team from, Kepler Neighborhood School in Fresno, had been jogging across the Tuolumne Street Bridge in downtown Fresno Thursday when a number of players rushed up to coach Elliott Murray, screaming, “a lady is trying to jump off the bridge!”
According to one of the students, 12-year-old Branden Ezell, the woman initially waved at the group, catching their eye in the process.
“We’re walking up and she waves at us so we wave back and by the time we looked away and then look back, she’s already hanging off — like full-on hanging off, just one arm holding her up,” Ezell said, according to NBC News.
Murray ordered the boys to engage in conversation with her while he called the police. “I said immediately go back up and get her attention,” he recalled. “Tell her her life matters. And do not stop.”
Listening to his coach’s instructions, one of the boys, Elijah, began to tell the woman just how important her life was.
“Elijah said, like, ‘Your life is worth it, no matter how much things are happening in life, you always gotta think about the positive, you gotta count your blessings,” recalled a fellow student, Joshua Velasquez.
As police helicopters hovered overhead, the boys just kept on speaking truth and life over the embattled woman.
Then, as their words of comfort and hope continued to minister to the woman in her grief and pain, she eventually hoisted herself back up onto the bridge.
Authorities praised the team’s quick-thinking and said it is likely they prevented a potential suicide. “She admitted to wanting to commit suicide,” Lt. Mark Hudson said, according ot the Fresno Bee.
“That lady was probably a mother and she’s seeing all those kids tell her that your life matters, do not do this and chanting and screaming,” Murray said. “That that gave her enough to change her motivation of wanting to kill herself.”
The Boys Stepped Up
“These young men stepped up when no one else could,” said Timothy Yeager, Kepler School’s Director of Student Services of the boy’s heroic actions.
“Words fail to do justice how incredibly proud we are of these Kepler scholars and Coach Elliot’s leadership.”
“A miracle happened! Our scholars were part of saving a life,” said Murray. “We pour our hearts into the lives of these kids every day and they stepped up in a way they’ll never forget. I’m so proud of them.”
According to local law enforcement, the woman is now being looked after in a mental health facility. The school also noted that it had arranged for a psychologist to speak with the boys after this traumatic incident.