Jennifer Green still plans to visit Minnesota this summer, to lay an inscribed rock along the shoreline of Faribault’s Straight River. It was there where she almost died after jumping 25 feet from a bridge as a desperate 20-year-old.
But the rock will be the only heaviness Green carries. After going public with her hope to find the person who saved her life 25 years ago, not one, but two good Samaritans have stepped forward to say they were on the bridge together that day.
They prefer to remain anonymous.
“I’m just thrilled,” said Green, now 45 and living in Chicago. “This is fantastic.” She called her parents “right away, and they were very excited.”
Green was featured in this column March 8. Diagnosed with bipolar depression in her teens, Green spent time in many hospitals and treatment centers. On Feb. 7, 1990, she sneaked out of her mental health facility in Faribault, sat on the bridge, then jumped.
She landed on an embankment near open water, shattering her wrist and breaking her back in three places. While those injuries might not have been fatal, she very likely would have died from hypothermia had no one discovered her.
I’d love to take credit for the joy in Green’s voice during our follow-up phone call, but kudos all go to the Faribault Daily News, which first reported Green’s quest to find her “angel” back in 2012.
After getting no traction for Green from that article, the newspaper re-reported her story this past Feb. 6, the eve of the 25th anniversary of her jump.
Again, Green heard nothing. She began to consider reasons why that was so. “Maybe it was legal issues,” Green said. “Maybe they thought I would be angry with them [for saving me]. I might come find them or something. Who knows?”
Just after my column went to press, Green got a phone call from Faribault Daily News reporter Camey Thibodeau.
“She was just like, ‘Jennifer, I have a letter here. It’s from the people who saved your life that day.’
“I said, ‘Read it!’ ” Green recounted with a laugh. Thibodeau did.
The letter was three paragraphs typed, with no return name or address. The writers said that Thibodeau’s article was “recently brought to our attention.”
“They said they were on the bridge that day and they appreciated Green’s gratitude,” Thibodeau said.
Thibodeau knows there’s always the possibility that the senders are making this up, “but I like to think it’s legitimate.”
They didn’t ask for any kind of reward and they signed their names, simply, Two Good Samaritans.
Thibodeau, 37, has covered public safety for the Daily News for four years, but this was an unusual assignment, she said.
“Omigod! Made my day,” said Thibodeau, who quickly sent the letter to Green for safekeeping.
“It will be nice to have something physical from that day,” Green said. “That was part of my closure — to find the people and tell them how grateful I am. They helped me to have a life.”
Follow Gail on Twitter: @grosenblum