SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – On the Fourth of July, Colin Cottengim was on the way home trying to beat the holiday traffic. Cottengim found himself saving a life instead. Today, the Springfield Police Department recognized him for his heroic actions.
Ozarks First Reporter David Chasanov spoke with the man after he received a Citizen Service Medal.
Cottengim says what happened on the bridge at Glenstone and I-44 three months ago is something he will never forget.
“We had just happened to pass right by this spot, and I noticed something on the right in my peripheral vision,” Cottengim said. “I look back, and it was a guy who was straddling the concrete barrier. And, so we ended back to where my car was over there. I told my wife, ‘hey, I don’t know what you want to do, but I think you need to call 911 and I’m going to go speak to this guy.”
When Cottengim approached him, he asked him what’s wrong and told him that people care about him. He asked the guy if he needed food, water or shelter, and the man said he truly needed help. Cottengim says you could tell he was mentally and emotionally exhausted.
When first responders arrived, the man didn’t want to talk to them, and something made him so angry that he tried to jump. That’s when Cottengim stepped in to help.
“I screamed his name, he turned around, and I just asked him for a hug,” Cottengim said. “He looked at me, sort of shed a couple of tears and stuck his hand out towards me. I gave him a big ole bear hug. I turn him away from the edge of the barrier. I put him towards the road, where whenever he was done giving me a hug, he knew that he wasn’t close to the concrete barrier anymore.”
From there, paramedics put their arms around him to show them they were there to help. Cottengim says he was told the man received treatment. But, hasn’t been able actually to talk to him since that day on the bridge. Ozarks First didn’t have any luck getting ahold of him either.
Cottengim says if he ever gets the chance to see the man again, he would want to take him out to eat at Waffle House and thank him for changing his life.