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article imageRetired NYC Firefighter stops suicidal man from bridge jump

By Joan Firstenberg     Apr 24, 2009 in Lifestyle
There are heroes all around us. Sometimes they show up in the most unlikely places, and are retired. A former NYC firefighter talked a suicidal man down from his perch on the George Washington Bridge this week in a perfect ending story.
As the New York Daily News puts it, "Real heroes never really retire." They're talking about 58-year old Michael Finer, who retired last year after 30 years with the New York City Fire Department, and five years before that with the New York City Police Department.
Finer was driving along the huge George Washington Bridge to a former colleague's awards banquet Wednesday evening when he saw a man climb onto the outer railing of the span. Finer says...
"He was over the railing, holding on with one arm. It was precarious. He was ready to go."
Finer says he pulled over and ran toward the man, dodging rush-hour traffic on the busy bridge.
"I just said, 'Let me see what I can do to help,'"
And he says, as other cars began stopping to look at the dangling man, he began talking to the would-be suicide. Finer says a breakthrough came when the man told him he was depressed about not having "been with a woman in two years." And Finer was able to assure him that people cared about him. Finer also told the man, who gave his name as Lloyd,
"No one wants to see you do this,"
After that, Finer thought he'd use one of the tried and true methods of suicide prevention. He told Lloyd that the fall might not kill him. Finer also ignored a Port Authority police officer who warned him to back off. And eventually, Finer coaxed Lloyd into climbing back up to safety.
Finer, who retired from the FDNY after suffering a shoulder injury, was assigned to Marine 1 and helped to rescue a drowning woman from the water off Battery Park City in September. He says,
"That's what I miss about the job, the adrenaline rush."
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