Syracuse woman receives New York’s highest honor for saving a stranger’s life


SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A Central New York woman is being recognized for saving the life of a complete stranger this summer.

27-year-old Kaley Taggart of Syracuse was presented the Liberty Medal by State Senator (D) Rachel May for her selfless act. It’s the highest honor a civilian in New York State can receive.

On July 9, Taggart was driving along the 481 overpass in Clay when she spotted a woman standing on the edge of the bridge preparing to jump.

Just a few days after the incident, Taggart walked NewsChannel 9’s Adrienne Smith through those intense moments. Without hesitation, Taggart immediately whipped her car around, pulled the emergency brake and ran to save to the woman.

“I made sure to stop because I didn’t want to see someone on the ground,” — Kaley Taggart

Surrounded by family and friends in an intimate ceremony at Thornden Park, Taggart was acknowledged for her life-saving response.

I don’t know what I would have done in that situation. It takes a special love of other people. The Liberty Medal is a pretty rare thing that we are able to give out to people who save lives and there’s only one other that I’ve been able to give since I’ve been in office. So, this was really a situation where someone’s alive in our community today because of Kaley and I think that deserves recognition.

NYS Senator Rachel May, (D) 53rd District

For Taggart, this experience isn’t about the award, the praise or recognition, it’s about making sure everyone knows their life is worth it.

It’s so many emotions, so many emotions. It’s a lot. It’s a big thing to be rewarded for just being a human being and reacting immediately.

Kaley Taggart, Liberty Medal recipient

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health, help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or learn more about the Onondaga County Suicide Prevention Coalition here.

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