2017-03-16 / Front Page

LaBonte, Quintana honored with Life Saving Medals

By Krista Tacey-Cater


DISTINGUISHED SERVICE COMMENDATION (From left) Gerrish Township Police Department Officer Norm LaBonte and Roscommon County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Joe Quintana received Life Saving Medals March 8 from the Roscommon County Sheriff’s Of­fice after saving the life of a suicidal woman last summer. “In recogni­tion of your acts of service on June 12, 2016 in response to a suicidal female perched upon the I-75 overpass on M-18 attempting to end her own life. Your timely response and compassionate actions on that day saved a life that could never have been replaced,” the certificates read. (Photo by Krista Tacey-Cater) DISTINGUISHED SERVICE COMMENDATION (From left) Gerrish Township Police Department Officer Norm LaBonte and Roscommon County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Joe Quintana received Life Saving Medals March 8 from the Roscommon County Sheriff’s Of­fice after saving the life of a suicidal woman last summer. “In recogni­tion of your acts of service on June 12, 2016 in response to a suicidal female perched upon the I-75 overpass on M-18 attempting to end her own life. Your timely response and compassionate actions on that day saved a life that could never have been replaced,” the certificates read. (Photo by Krista Tacey-Cater) Roscommon County Sheriff Ed Stern describes most summer Sunday after­noons as “pretty quiet.”

However, Sunday, June 12, 2016, did not fit that description and ended in a life being saved after Stern said quick think­ing, excellent people skills and compas­sion were used to save a suicidal woman.


RECEIVING THEIR AWARDS Gerrish Township Police Department Officer Norm LaBonte (far left) and Roscommon County Sheriff’s Of­fice Deputy Joe Quintana (far right) received Life Saving Medals at the March 8 Roscommon County Board of Commissioners work session. The awards were presented by Sheriff Ed Stern (second from right) and GTPD Chief Brian Hill. (Photos by Krista Tacey-Cater) RECEIVING THEIR AWARDS Gerrish Township Police Department Officer Norm LaBonte (far left) and Roscommon County Sheriff’s Of­fice Deputy Joe Quintana (far right) received Life Saving Medals at the March 8 Roscommon County Board of Commissioners work session. The awards were presented by Sheriff Ed Stern (second from right) and GTPD Chief Brian Hill. (Photos by Krista Tacey-Cater) Stern set the stage at a March 8 Roscommon County Board of Com­missioners meeting, telling those in attendance that it was a hot sunny day around 2:45 p.m., when a call came into Roscommon County Central Dispatch notifying officers that a suicidal woman was standing on the outer rail of the M-18 overpass over I-75 threatening to end her life.

A patrol car video taken that day was then played showing Roscommon Coun­ty Sheriff’s Office Deputy Joe Quintana and Gerrish Township Police Depart­ment


RECOGNIZING ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT MEMBERS At the end of the awards presentation, Chairman Bob Schneider (Dis­trict 3) asked all the law enforcement personnel present to stand in rec­ognition of their service. Standing in acknowledgement of their service (from left) are Roscommon County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Dean Maeder, Lt. Eric Tiepel and Sgt. Angie Ackley, Lt. Laurie Beck, Gerrish Town­ship Police Department Sgt. Greg Patchin, Chief Brian Hill and Offi­cer Norm LaBonte and RCSO Deputy Joe Quintana, Undersheriff Ben Lowe and Sheriff Ed Stern. (Front) Gerrish Township Supervisor David Udy claps for the law enforcement personnel as they stand. RECOGNIZING ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT MEMBERS At the end of the awards presentation, Chairman Bob Schneider (Dis­trict 3) asked all the law enforcement personnel present to stand in rec­ognition of their service. Standing in acknowledgement of their service (from left) are Roscommon County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Dean Maeder, Lt. Eric Tiepel and Sgt. Angie Ackley, Lt. Laurie Beck, Gerrish Town­ship Police Department Sgt. Greg Patchin, Chief Brian Hill and Offi­cer Norm LaBonte and RCSO Deputy Joe Quintana, Undersheriff Ben Lowe and Sheriff Ed Stern. (Front) Gerrish Township Supervisor David Udy claps for the law enforcement personnel as they stand. Officer Norm LaBonte responding to the call. The video shows the woman standing on the rail while Quintana be­gins to talk her down from the rail, while LaBonte calls to coordinate with other law enforcement units to stop traffic on both M-18 and I-75.

Quintana can be heard telling the woman that everyone has problems and that he is there to help her.

“I care about you,” Quintana told the woman. “…please step back.”

Stern told those at the meeting that the woman told Quintana and LaBonte that nobody cared about her and that she was afraid that she would be arrested if she decided to step to safety.

The video shows Quintana and La­Bonte persistent in their attempts to talk the woman off the rail.

“God doesn’t want you to jump,” La­Bonte can be heard telling the woman.

The over 20-minute long video ends with the woman stepping down to safety on the M-18 overpass. “We have her, she’s OK,” Quintana told central dis­patch.

After the video was shown, LaBonte and Quintana were presented with a ser­vice ribbon, which is a bar that the offi­cers will wear on their uniforms, a certifi­cate of recognition from the Roscommon County Sheriff’s Office and a State of Michigan Life Saving Medal.

Chairman Bob Schneider (District 3) congratulated LaBonte and Quintana for their service that day and commented on the “professionalism” that is always on display by all of the law enforcement personnel who serve in Roscommon County. Schneider closed the awards presentation by asking all the law en­forcement personnel present to stand in recognition of their service.

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