Certificates of Extraordinary Personal Action awarded in Tacoma

By Diane Toomey

When Zaire Spann of Steilacoom, WA and his friend Damon Roberson woke up one January morning they had no idea they would be instrumental in saving a young mother’s life.

Zaire and Damon were in the car together when they noticed a young woman preparing to jump off an overpass onto a freeway below. Both felt compelled to help. They turned the car around, parked, and ran to her hoping a conversation could help. 

Shortly after, Port of Tacoma Patrol Officers Chris Grant, Greg Hopkins and Russ Drake arrived on the scene and quickly recognized that Damon and Zaire were building a rapport with the young woman by attempting to relay a message of hope and caring. Zaire remembers telling her “there is something better in store for you.” 

Seeing the traction Damon and Zaire were gaining with her kept the officers from immediately interfering. It wasn’t until the young woman began to make moves of letting go that the three officers, and now Customs Border Patrol Officer Chuelly, moved in to gain physical control of her, bringing her back over the rail while she fought to break away.

It was the care and concern of two friends, Damon and Zaire, that allowed the officers to place themselves in position to move quickly to save the woman’s life. The officers stated that “without their help they could not have responded as they did – they were critical in saving the young lady.”

Neither Damon nor Zaire said they felt like heroes.  Reflecting on the situation, Zaire said, “I am just a normal person who wanted to help. We did our part, the rest was up to her.”  Damon expressed a similar sentiment, “it felt like what I needed to do.” 

redcross.org/take-a-class/lifesaving

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