A true hero.

1st Cav Soldier Stops a Suicide, Talks Fellow Soldier off an Overpass

Posted: Feb 15, 2016 6:24 PM CST
Updated: Feb 15, 2016 6:59 PM CST
By Tiffany Pelt

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KILLEEN – He denies being a hero. In fact, the humble 1st Cav soldier will tell you, “I don’t think it’s a big deal”. But, it most definitely was a big a deal.

Specialist Oscar Bonilla was at the right place, at the right time, and his selfless heart was the right fit for the job. “My mother always helped out everybody regardless of who it was,” he said. “That’s the reason I stopped… along with my Army values of loyalty and duty.”

As Bonilla was driving home on January 19th, he noticed in the darkness a truck was pulled over on the overpass at Highway 190 and Fort Hood Street. “There were no hazard lights on, and one gentleman stepped out of the vehicle just staring off in the distance,” said Bonilla.”I turned around to see if he needed help.”

It was like any other day for the Army medic. Raised by a mother who insisted on helping those around her, he took it upon himself to lend a helping a hand. He had no idea his simple gesture of kindness would change the life of a young family.

“Something didn’t click. Something didn’t seem right,” he said about the man. “He basically told me go away.”

Bonilla refused. “I went forward and asked him if he was really sure he was okay. That’s when he told me he doesn’t want to live anymore. It’s not worth it, and he just wants to end it all,” said Bonilla.

As he moved closer to put himself between the troubled man and the overpass rail, he noticed a familiar haircut. The man who was trying to end his life was a soldier.

“I immediately told him, ‘I know you’re a soldier. Look at me, I’m in my uniform still so talk to me,’ and I noticed he had a ring on his finger,” said Bonilla.

Not only was the young soldier married, but he was a new father with a four month old baby. Bonilla told the soldier to think about his family, and stood listening to his fellow soldier. Somewhere during the conversation, it clicked. “He looked at me and basically hugged me, just embraced me, and started crying on my shoulder,” he said.

He talked him off the overpass, but rather than parting ways, Bonilla took him to the nearby McDonalds for coffee so they could continue talking until the soldier’s unit leader arrived to pick him up. His unexpected stop to lend a hand had almost lasted an hour.

“I’ve had people in my life who wanted to commit suicide,” said Bonilla. “If I could stop one person from doing it I’m willing to do anything for it.”

The numerous and mandatory suicide prevention classes and suicide resiliency programs by the Army had paid off. “I’ve known about A.C.E., ask/care/escort, since basic training,” he said. “That’s actually all that’s needed to help suicide cases.”

Even after that night ended and he said his goodbyes, Bonilla messaged the soldier making sure he was still okay. “I didn’t get a reply so I thought there was some resentment,” he said. “Couple day later I get a message saying, ‘Thank you for saving my life’. It hit me, and I was like whoa… I guess I did.”

He still keeps in touch with the soldier he met on top of the overpass. If you ask him, the attention and recognition from his selfless actions are ‘unwanted’, but he understands those actions will never be forgotten by that family.

“It shows people out there are willing to help. That’s how everybody should be… willing to help,” he said.

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