The Good Stuff: The Unlikely Hero
Rawlis Leslie, Jr helped officers pull off a bridge rescue
BOSSIER CITY, La. (KSLA) - Coincidence or predestined? Believe what you want — but there is no denying that the quick actions of two Bossier City police officers and a Good Samaritan saved a life on June 1 on top of the Shreveport-Barksdale bridge.
“I knew something had to be done,” stated Corporal Matthew Bragg when asked last week about the moment he sprinted to the wall of the bridge, wrapping his arms around a young lady in distress who had climbed over the concrete barrier.
That is about the time Rawlis Leslie and his wife C.C. first noticed Bragg, then a second officer, Brandon Bailey, holding on to her.
“That could have pulled them over,” Leslie explained. “They were not going to let her go, I could see that.”
Rawlis whipped his truck to a stop just ahead of Bailey’s police unit, got out, and sprinted over to help.
“All I saw was this blue shirt coming at me asking, ‘Can I help?’, and I said, ‘Please’,” recalled Bragg.
Within seconds, and with the strength of all three men, they were able to pull her to safety.
Commenting on Leslie’s sudden appearance on the bridge, Bragg shared that he felt Leslie was “the perfect person, at the right time, at the right place.”
It is hard to argue that line of thinking, especially after learning many years ago Leslie was a part of another bridge-top rescue while living in Florida, and once helped two other men lift a car off of a pregnant woman after a crash.
But if you ask Leslie, he feels he’s far from perfect, that this moment really came at a rough time for him, and happened at the very last place he wanted to be — on a bridge.
“That’s the problem. I don’t like going over bridges,” admitted Leslie.
He said he has had an anxiety attack while driving over a bridge in the past. He associates it with an incident when he was in the Army many years ago when he was seriously injured while his convoy was crossing a bridge.
In fact, at the very moment of the June 1 rescue, he was crossing the Shreveport-Barksdale bridge on his way to a therapy appointment at the Veteran’s Affairs Overton-Brooks Hospital.
Leslie shared, from that time forward, his life in many ways has been a struggle.
And no matter the assurances from his children and wife C.C., he admitted, at times, he feels like he’s failed his family.
“Most of my PTSD feels like I’m a failure to my family.”
His toughest admission of all — “I was suicidal.”
He’s not been faced with those sort of thoughts recently — but he knows he’s still a work in progress.
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