Governor Schwarzenegger presented Warden Jorge Paz – of the Department of Fish and Game in Santa Ynez – with a Medal of Valor on December 7 for successfully preventing a mentally ill man from jumping off Highway 154’s Cold Spring Bridge last year.
Along with 37 other state employees, Paz received the Governor’s State Employee Medal of Valor award during Tuesday’s ceremony in Sacramento for demonstrating acts of bravery and heroism in saving the life of another.
Paz was given the Silver Award for stopping the attempted suicide. Since Cold Spring Bridge was built in 1963, it has been the site of 53 suicide jumps.
On October 17 of last year, Paz drove past a man walking along the bridge and peering over the railing. Paz pulled over and approached him, and the man said he was going to jump off the bridge. Paz attempted to calm him down by talking about the man’s issues, when California Highway Patrol Officer Whitney Taylor arrived to help.
When Paz believed that the mentally ill man could not be talked down, he and Taylor charged him. After a struggle, the pair restrained and handcuffed him.