DES MOINES, Iowa -- An ordinary day turned into one Lalanie Burkett will never forget, when she noticed a girl standing on a bridge.
“I said ‘oh my god. She’s getting ready to jump’ and I hurry up and turn around,” Burkett said.
Sergeant Steven Russell was also driving by and pulled over moments later.
“I think sometimes we are all put in situations for a reason,” Sgt. Russell said. “I think I was just fortunate enough to happen to be there that day. I’m glad I was there so I could help.”
“She let her hands go from the bridge and the guy grabbed her arms and pulled her arms. And I grabbed her pants and pull her up,” Burkett said.
That day a life was saved thanks to two bystanders who decided to take action.
“It’s nice to see people with these different backgrounds come together for that one cause and then put their skill sets together for that purpose of saving lives,” Des Moines Senior Police Officer Shawna Isaac said.
This was just one of the many stories told at the Des Moines’ crime fighter luncheon, put on by the Des Moines Police Department. It’s an annual event that recognizes good citizens who helped the police keep the city a safe place to live, work, and play, from assisting in solving a crime, to saving a life.
“It’s reassuring and it makes me proud of the citizens of Des Moines when I see them stepping up and instead of turning a blind eye or walking the other way. It’s just so wonderful to see them doing something for someone else.” Isaac said.
While the recipients enjoyed being appreciated, they say helping their community was second nature.
“It means a lot especially to be recognized by the police department,” Sgt. Russell said. “I mean they should be the ones being recognized. I didn’t do it for an award. I did it because I saw someone needed to be helped.”
“My biggest reward was knowing that that lady, that young lady, was able to survive. So that was my reward and I didn’t need an award to tell me that,” Burkett said. “But I am so thankful and so honored that someone thought enough about me to say thank you.”
Twenty citizens were recognized with either a crime fighter, humanitarian, or community service award.