Teamsters Local 330 Member Honored
Doug Sandstrom did not know when he arrived at the Jefferson Street Bridge in Plainfield for a night shift last June that he was going to save someone’s life — but that is exactly what happened to the Teamster member and Illinois Department of Transportation bridge tender.
Sandstrom heard a knock on the door and opened it from the catwalk. A woman stood there and asked him to give a letter and her possessions to her mother and grandson after she jumped off the bridge.
“I ran down the stairs and called 911 on my phone, but she was already standing on the center of the bridge when I got down there,” said Sandstrom. “The adrenaline was pumping. When someone is considering taking their own life, what you say may make a difference between that person living or dying.”
Sandstrom knew it was very important not to get too close or appear to be talking to the police. When the 911 operator answered the phone, Sandstrom did not speak directly to her but mentioned the name of the bridge while talking to the woman.
“I said we all have things to deal with, jumping off the Jefferson Street Bridge isn’t going to solve your problems,” Sandstrom said. “After I talked to her a little bit more, she came down and I kept my arms around her until the police came.”
In April 2007, Sandstrom received the 2006 Heroic Act award from the Illinois Department of Transportation. He accepted the award at the annual safety luncheon with his 16-year-old daughter, Ashley, by his side.
“I was so happy to be able to share this with Ashley and make her proud of her dad,” he said. “You don’t know what you will do in a situation like this until it happens to you. I just know that life is very valuable and should be protected.”
Sandstrom has been a member of Teamsters Local 330 for the seven years he has worked as a bridge tender for IDOT.
“We have so many great members who work very hard, but it is especially wonderful to see a member who stepped up and changed someone’s life for the better,” said Dominic Romanazzi, Teamsters Local 330 President. “Doug and his family should be very proud of what he did that night.”
Teamsters Local 330 represents more than 2,000 members in the Elgin region in the general chauffeur, sales driver and helper industries.