This 17-year-old deserves every ounce of praise for her selfless and heroic act.  Although police and firemen save lives on the daily, sometimes normal people find themselves stepping into their shoes.   However, Danielle Wildman went up and beyond to save a suicidal friend.

Newstimes reports that Danielle, of Bethel, picked up on her friend’s strange behavior while they chatted on FaceTime late at night.  At first, the conversation appeared normal and centered around their weekend plans and school.  But then, her friend pulled out a gun, held it to her head, and said she wanted to end her life.  That she couldn’t do it anymore.

Immediately, Danielle sprang right into action. She spent the next two hours on the phone convincing her friend that suicide wasn’t the answer.

“I knew I had to stay calm and do the best to calm her down,” she recounted, admitting that she needed to work through her own fear and anxiety to save her suicidal friend.  Danielle’s mother already fell asleep for the night, so she had no one to ask for help.

But that didn’t stop her from doing what needed to be done:

“I pretty much talked about the horses, and that she had a bright future ahead of her and that she had a lot to live for because she was so young and she had a lot of opportunities. I knew she had a lot of dreams she wanted to fulfill.”

Eventually, she talked her friend down, but neither slept.  Danielle said she texted her friend throughout the night to make sure that she was still there and doing okay.

But, her deeds didn’t stop there.  The next morning, she immediately sought help for her friend by alerting her mother and school counselors.  Even though she risked damaging her friend’s trust.

But, Danielle said it was worth the risk, “I knew if she had a warning of it, she would try to cover it up, and I wanted her to get as much help as she could.”

And, eventually, her friend did come to understand what Danielle did was for the best and forgave her.  But even Danielle admits she struggled to cope with what happened.

She began seeing a counselor once a week and her grades suffered from the trauma.

Now, a year later, both of them recovered from the incident and are ready to move onto their next chapter of their lives: college.  Danielle plans to study agricultural engineering at the University of Northwestern Ohio.

She also will head to Ohio with a prestigious honor.  Her school counselor, Chris Maclean, nominated her for the State Police’s Trooper James W. Lambert Award.    The award memorializes Trooper Lambert, who was killed by a drunk driver on October, 29 1960, by honoring youths that demonstrated “exceptional courage and extraordinary decision making.”   No other student exemplified that more than Danielle.

The State Police honored her with a ceremony earlier this month.  The plaque reads:

“Danielle Wildman handled a very stressful event with courage and compassion.  She prevented a teen suicide and reported the incident to the proper authorities. Her actions make her a role model for other students and are in the highest tradition of the Connecticut State Police.”

Danielle didn’t expect a prize or recognition for her good deed.  All she wanted to do was to save a friend in need.

But, to the rest of the state, she’s a hero.  And always will be.

If you or someone you know struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts, please call 1-800-273-8255 or click HERE.   There’s no shame in needing or asking for help.

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