Tuesday, February 16th stared out as a normal day for AFSCME Local 2678 member Ray Barnhardt, a 15-year member of the campus police force at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) in Cleveland Ohio. Little did he know he would be called on to save a student’s life before the morning was over.
According to union President John P. Buettner, at around 10:30 that morning Officer Barnhardt was on Tri-C’s western campus when an out of breath student approached him saying “‘I need your help right now – a woman is going to jump,’ and the two took off running,” he said.
They raced to the main campus building which has a large, common area where they saw a woman on the second-story balcony surrounding room. She was on the outside of the railing holding on with one hand.
Barnhardt dashed up the stairs arriving just as the woman let go. Fortunately, he was quick enough to grab her and pull her to back safety.
“Had it not been for the intervention of Officer Barnhardt, she would surly have died. My co-worker got to her at the very last second as she let go, saving her life,” said Buettner, a long-time leader of the 160- member bargaining unit for offices and blue-collar college employees.
According to Buettner, a similar incident at the same location four years ago led the death of a student.
Each year Cuyahoga Community College’s 12 locations serve more than 55,000 credit and non-credit students. Tri-C opened in 1963 as Ohio’s first community college, and today, remains Ohio’s oldest and largest public community college.