He Looks Like A Typical Old Man, But What He Has Done For His Community Literally Saved Hundreds Of Lives



His name is Don Ritchie. Ritchie, who died May 13, 2012 at the age of 86 years old, officially saved 160 lives over a 45-year period. He earned the title of the "Angel of the Gap" for his heroic attempts to dissuade people from committing suicide by jumping from the high cliffs known as 'the Gap' at Watsons Bay. His family and relatives states that the lives he saved is not just 160 but probably close to 400. Whatever the number is, Don Ritchie is indeed a man born to save people from their untimely deaths.

Don Ritchie At The Gap

For many years, when Don Ritchie spotted someone who looks confused and potentially suicidal people from his home, he would walk slowly towards the person and utter the words "Can I help you in some way?". Most of the time, it works. But according to people close to him, when Ritchie was younger and all the persuasion not to commit suicide doesn't work, he physically restrains the more determined people. By doing this, he risks his own life just to save the suicidal person.

Don Ritchie Looking At The Gap

His heroic acts and commitment to save people's lives earned him the Medal of the Order of Australia, the official citation being for "service to the community through programs to prevent suicide". He and his wife Moya were also named  "Citizens of the Year" for 2010 by Woollahra Council. He also received the Local Hero Award for Australia in 2011.

Don Ritchie Receiving Australia Award
The National Australia Day Council also honored his acts and extraordinary way of giving people a second chance:
"His kind words and invitations into his home in times of trouble have made an enormous difference ... With such simple actions, Don has saved an extraordinary number of lives."
Ritchie resided next to The Gap, a cliff in Sydney, Australia, known for multiple suicide attempts. He was survived by his wife Moya and their three daughters.

More info:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Ritchie

http://www.science20.com/make_love_not_war/blog/rip_don_ritchie_angel_gap_where_one_young_woman_survived_her_suicidal_leap_many_more_die-90124

13 comments:

Melgie Campbell said...

So inspiring! well deserved to get an award for citizen of the year. Truly amazing! Thanks for sharing
http://www.wish4less.com

Miss `Chievous said...

I have read this on Facebook. Great man. An angel indeed.

JOJO VITO said...

what a legacy..indeed people will forget us when we die...but the good things we've done surely inspire others to be better...just like his story...

Fernando Lachica said...

Indeed a good man with heart of kindness. He inspired people to do the same and spread to humankind.

Rochkirstin Santos said...

His character sounds like one from a movie. The world needs to have more Don Ritchie.

Franc said...

He's definitely an angel and he saved a lot of people from committing suicide. Sometimes, all they need is someone to listen and someone who cares.

Claire Rafols said...

He's an Angel. This is very inspiring.

Gil Camporazo said...

The "savior" in his own making. His job of saving those to end their life is very difficult and sometimes too risky. Imagine he had to sacrifice his life just to save those misguided of committing a suicide. Without any assistance? It's too difficult.

Raquel said...

That was a great story. More people should be like him. Just because you are not wearing a uniform does not mean that you can’t be a hero of your own.

Nilyn EC Matugas said...

I've read about this before but it wasn't as detailed as this. I'm glad to hear he was recognized for his wonderful acts!

jessa.delacerna said...

Way to go sir!

JanzCrystalz January said...

He's a remarkable person, a life saver that should be remembered by all. :-)

Allen said...

Admirable! He could have just moved on with his life but he choosed to make a difference in others and give them a second chance!

 

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