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She doesn’t remember plunging into the icy waters of the St. Clair River..
Nor what the man looked like who dove in after her.
But Leanne does remember him grabbing her and the others who helped dragged her ashore one week ago, providing her a second chance at life after overdosing on antidepressants and stepping off the pier at Sarnia’s Government Docks.
Now, after five days under hospital psychiatric evaluation, Leanne, using a pseudonym to protect her privacy, wants to say thank you. She contacted The Observer after reading about her heroic rescue by 23- year-old construction worker Julian Mendoza and his coworkers..
“He put his life in danger for me, Julian and the others,” she said. “I thought if this young man was willing to do that for me, what the heck was I doing jumping in the river? He could have died.”
Leanne said she has battled with depression for years. And lately, her mental and physical health have suffered, along with her finances and family life..
It all came to the breaking point last Thursday afternoon, she said.
She drove from the beach on Lakeshore Road to the Blue Water Bridge..
But there were too many people around. The Government Docks were quieter, though the work crew Mendoza was working with there asked her to leave.
“I felt lonely,” she said. “Like no one cared.”
She downed a handful of pills with a swig of soda and walked to the edge of the dock.
“The water mesmerized me. I just jumped. It’s as simple as that,” she told a reporter Wednesday. She doesn’t remember feeling the cold, only the arms of her rescuer moments later..
Leanne spent two days in a “Twilight Zone” of medication at Bluewater Health. Though feeling better, she continues to see a psychiatrist and admits her depression hasn’t passed. Her problems remain.
But for now she’s focusing on the future and wants to thank Mendoza. Some day she’d like to meet him and his fellow rescuers, she added.
Lambton OPP are requesting that Mendoza be awarded a police commendation for his unselfish actions.
He deserves it, she said. “He will be my hero for the rest of my life.”
Article ID# 1351861