Rochester, N.Y.—It was a reunion Sherry Nunn had been waiting for months.
Finally on Tuesday, she got to meet Rochester firefighters John Dix and Jim Bleasi—the men who saved her life.
Back in September 2011, Sherry had given up hope. She was battling depression and anxiety. She decided to take her own life by jumping into the Genesee River Gorge.
But as soon as she did, she realized she wanted nothing more than to live. She suffered a severely broken leg and sat in the frigid water, praying someone would rescue her.
Eventually someone saw her and called 911. There were more than 40 firefighters on scene. Dix and Bleasi belong to Engine 16 and both have extensive training in rope rescue. They were sent down the 90-foot drop to bring Sherry back up. The rescue lasted hours.
Sherry credits all the men and women on scene that day for saving her life.
“They risked their lives and I wanted them to know that their work is so worthwhile.”
Dix and Bleasi recall it being a difficult rescue; however, they are glad to see that Sherry was recovering.
“It definitely is a great feeling,” says Bleasi, “Sometimes you wonder if you impact the people you do help or if it's just a job, but it's a great feeling [to meet her].”
Dix also appreciated Sherry’s words of gratitude, but he says the rescue was a team effort and says there are many people worthy of the credit.
“There were 35 to 40 people [on the ledge],” says Dix. “We couldn't be here today if those people weren’t up there and that's a compliment not to just Jim and myself but the entire Rochester Fire Department. That That's why we do what we do everyday.”
With her new lease on life, Sherry says she is going to try and help others who are also contemplating suicide. She wants people to know she’s happy to be alive and so grateful to the men and women who saved her.
“[The firefighters] gave me back my life,” she says. “If I start to sway off the path because life is challenging, I’ll remember them.”
For Dix and Bleasi, that’s the greatest gift Sherry could give back to them: to live life and to live it well.