An off-duty Florida deputy is being recognized for saving a man’s life.

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office said Tara Burge was driving up the Sunshine Skyway Bridge when she saw an empty vehicle and a man walking to the bridge top.

Burge drove up to the man and tried to start talking to him, but he didn’t answer, according to the sheriff’s office. 

Burge told her passenger to call 911 while she got out of the vehicle to talk to the man.

The sheriff’s office said Burge pleaded with the man not to jump, but he was determined to.

In a last try to get the man not to jump, she asked for his cellphone so she could call his family to tell them what happened, law enforcement said. When he started to hand over his phone, she pulled him away from the ledge and held him until Florida Highway Patrol troopers showed up.

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office awarded Burge with their Distinguished Service Award for the bravery she showed while she was off-duty.

If you have suicidal thoughts, you are not alone. And, there is help available. Contact the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay at 211 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.

Resources: Considering suicide or know someone who is? There is help

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