Ohio Sailor Takes Action, Saves a Life

Published: May. 12, 2020 at 4:42 PM EDT
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LORAIN, Ohio (November 19, 2019) – It was just another routine trip to a physical therapy appointment for Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Isaiah Brown in his hometown of Lorain, Ohio. Little did he know that his actions shortly after leaving his appointment would save the life of a Vietnam veteran.

Brown, a talent scout for

, struck up a conversation with the gentleman and shortly after, realized the vet was suffering from depression and contemplating taking his own life.

“He mentioned that he wasn’t having a good day and was having a hard time with coping how some things in his life went,” said Brown. “He eventually said he was thinking about suicide.”

Brown knew he had to take action and offered the man a ride to the local VA hospital for medical attention, forever changing the trajectory of both their lives.

“I sat with him and we continued to talk until he was admitted in the hospital,” said Brown. “I found out that he was a boatswain’s mate like me when he served in Vietnam. Before I left him, I embraced him, gave him my contact information and let him know that I’m here for him.”

Brown knew he had to intervene as soon as the situation came up and due to his training, he knew the proper steps to take to assist in this dire situation.

“I knew what to look for in the signs of suicide,” said Brown. “The Navy offers so much training on suicide awareness and prevention that it was immediate for me to know that I have to step in and do something. Just asking the question and actually listening to a person can change the course of their entire life.”

The Navy offers annual suicide awareness and prevention training that teaches Sailors how to intervene when they believe someone is showing signs of suicide and how to respond appropriately. The Navy also distributes the “1 Small ACT (Ask, Care, Treat) Toolkit” and teaches us to be there for every Sailor, every day.

A representative from the local VA clinic, where Brown escorted the veteran after noticing his suicidal ideations, stopped the local recruiting station and offered their gratitude for Brown’s actions mentioned that the veteran said “it was like an act of God and that the interactions with the recruiter was meant for a reason and offered him hope.’

“The recruiter did not just notice someone was in distress, but he made a decision to approach the person,” said Kristi Niemeyer, a clinical social worker in Mental Health/Addictions at the Lorain VA Outpatient Clinic. “He did not just approach him, he made an effort to connect to him and show him compassion. It made a huge impact and a significant difference in someone’s life. As a human being, in a world where we are so caught up in our own issues and often unaware of what is happening around us, I was moved by this person’s awareness, care, concern, and the love he showed that day.”

The humble-natured Brown did not expect anything in return for his actions. He just knew he had to do the right thing. Instead, his command wanted to recognize him and awarded him as the November NTAG Ohio River Valley Warrior of the Month.

“On behalf of all the leadership at Talent Acquisition Onboarding Center Cleveland, we cannot say enough how proud we are of BM2 Brown for the care and compassion that he showed for this veteran,” said Lt. Kelly Kolarik, TAOC Cleveland officer in charge. “His actions were so inspiring and really reminded us how important a small gesture of kindness can be to someone in need. I am honored that BM2 Brown is a part of our team!”

“I wasn’t expecting anything for doing what I did, I just enjoy helping people,” said Brown. “Generosity is the greatest character builder there is. You can learn a lot about yourself just by giving back.”

Brown previously spent six years stationed in San Diego onboard USS Boxer (LHD 4) and reported to NTAG Ohio River Valley in June of this year. When Brown is not in uniform putting highly qualified men and women into the Navy, he enjoys spending time with his two small children and running his sneaker restoration business.

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, NTAG Ohio River Valley’s mission is to man the Navy fleet with the highest quality Sailors and maintain the Navy’s unchallenged worldwide maritime superiority and ability to win wars, deter aggression and maintain freedom of the seas. NTAG Ohio River Valley operates 56 Talent Acquisition Stations and four Navy Officer Recruiting stations throughout Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia.

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