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Heroes Among Us: True Stories of Selfless Acts of Heroism, with Officer Lorne Juday

Assume that everybody can teach you something — With a little bit of life experience under your belt (ahem, ahem, 15 year olds), an advanced degree, or taste of success, it’s easy to start seeing anybody without these things as “beneath you.” Stay humble, and during every interaction with somebody, instead of dismissing them as “old,” “crazy,” […]

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Assume that everybody can teach you something — With a little bit of life experience under your belt (ahem, ahem, 15 year olds), an advanced degree, or taste of success, it’s easy to start seeing anybody without these things as “beneath you.” Stay humble, and during every interaction with somebody, instead of dismissing them as “old,” “crazy,” or whatever, find out what you can learn from their passions and knowledge.


As part of my series about “Stories of Selfless Acts of Heroism by Firefighters, Paramedics, Police Officers and Soldiers” I had the pleasure of interviewing Lorne Juday. Lorne is a police officer who works in one of the greatest areas of west Michigan. Lorne believes in constant learning and improvement, both personally and organizationally. Lorne has worked with and supported some of his department’s most important initiatives relating to school safety, professional development and community preparedness. Lorne is a department firearms instructor, CPR instructor, Bleeding Control Instructor and is currently the school liaison officer for several local schools. Lorne is also much more than a police officer, having two young children and a remarkable wife, who he’s been trying to keep laughing since they started dating in high school. Lorne believes his most important assignment yet is to be a good father, husband and friend.


Thank you so much for doing this with us Lorne! Can you tell our readers a bit about your “backstory”?

Thank you for inviting me! Sure, I grew up in Marshall, MI, a small town between Battle Creek and Jackson. I guess I had a “normal” childhood, maybe a bit on the nerdy side: I played sports (soccer), played violin for a few years and really enjoyed reading from a young age. Later into high school I got into martial arts, played in band and later became the drum major for my high school marching band. As a freshman, I met my wife, who was a senior at the time. We started dating and she’s been putting up with me ever since.

After high school I went to college and got a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice. While I was attending school I worked for the university police, and in the summer I also worked for the Sheriff’s department as a Marine Patrol deputy. That job was absolutely fantastic, they actually paid me to drive a boat around in the summer. Granted, I only got a tan from the elbow down, but it was still great.

Since I graduated college, I’ve worked a seasonal job as a bike patrol officer (that one was awesome, too), worked a couple years for a small town of about 2,500 people, and I’ve been in my current position for just over 4 years. It’s still a small town, but it’s a little bigger and there’s a university, so things generally stay interesting.

Can you tell us a story about the events that have drawn you to this specific career path?

During high school I attended a Youth Police Academy put on by the local sheriff’s office. It was in the summer, I think the summer before my 10th grade year. I totally loved it. I was really drawn to this career, and it’s hard to explain exactly why or put it into words. I think the best I can say is it just “felt right” when I thought about being an officer. Plus, I joke with my wife that I can never do anything else because I don’t have many other marketable skills! I’m joking, of course (kind of), but most of the training and education I’ve pursued since high school has focused on this career.

My grandfather was also an officer — he retired as a captain from the Petoskey Police Department. He never spoke about it as a general rule, but every once in awhile he would share a story here or there. I was never pushed into the career by him or any other family members, but it’s a nice connection to share with him. This is a different type of career, so even across generations there’s a certain “link” or understanding between those who have done police work.

Can you share your story of selfless courage? First can you tell us the background information behind the story?

You bet. Just to give a little background, as the school officer I generally don’t get dispatched to patrol calls unless it’s related to schools or kids or something. I recall this particular day, in March of 2018, which was my mother’s birthday incidentally — I don’t remember exactly why I was dispatched, whether the patrol shift was at minimum staffing or if they were just tied up on other calls. A little after noon (I remember this because it was unusual for a Friday afternoon) there was a string of odd calls in the city and on campus: I think there were two reported fires on campus (only one was real), a couple of car crashes, and then a domestic was called out in the city. I was fairly close, so I responded along with another officer, Andre. Domestics always require at least two units to respond. Initially we saw a female in the upstairs apartment bleeding from the hand, and after a couple minutes we learned she had punched a mirror during an argument, so she had some decent lacerations on her hand. My Sgt. arrived and was speaking to the male half at the bottom of a flight of stairs.

While sorting out the domestic, I had my radio on scan and heard EMS get dispatched to an apartment complex across town for a female with a self-inflicted stab wound. I knew EMS and rescue would not respond until the scene was secured by law enforcement. I checked with Andre, made sure he had a handle on the domestic situation then rushed down the stairs. I kind of pushed past my Sgt. (who hadn’t heard the medical) while telling her what was going on, then tried to run across the icy yard and sidewalk back to my car. That’s kind of the lead up to the story.

Can you tell us the story of the danger that someone was in and what you did to rescue the person?

Yeah, so dispatch did end up broadcasting the stabbing on the police channel but didn’t give any description of the person’s status or any other info. I got to my car and skimmed the call notes, trying to see if there was anything urgent. Yes, I know how that sounds, it’s a stabbing, but there’s a difference between superficial scratches and a “stabbing.” Generally, due to heavy vehicle traffic, I try to avoid running code (lights and siren) unless there’s some sort of exigency. Due to the heavy lunch hour traffic, it creates another type of danger for other drivers and myself when running code. Well, I saw there was a note that it was a self-inflicted stab wound to the thigh. Once I saw that, I knew it was time to boogie. Contrary to popular belief, for the same reason the police don’t shoot people in the leg “to wound them”, wounds to the leg are actually quite serious.

Cuts to the femoral artery can cause death in as little as a few minutes, and severe damage to the brain and other organs can occur even quicker than that. The femoral artery is a large, high pressure vessel that is really good at moving (or draining) large amounts of blood, quickly.

As I was on my way to the scene I was visualizing different scenarios and possibilities in my head. I tried to clarify the victim’s location with dispatch and tried coming up with a tactical plan in case the situation wasn’t what dispatch had been told. I passed the ambulance, which had staged around the corner a couple blocks back. You know, I actually remember passing my wife’s work and remember wondering to myself if she happened to be looking out the window and if she would think I looked “badass” as I flew past. It’s funny what you think about and remember during an adrenaline dump.

Anyways, once I got there I located the victim / patient laying down between two cars with a handful of people standing around. There were two males kneeling next to her and they had wrapped a few towels around her leg but there was still blood soaking through the towels and pooling in a large area around her on the pavement.

I took my SAM XT tourniquet out of my pocket, told her, “This is going to hurt, but it’ll save you.” I then snapped it down to open the loop, and applied it. The tourniquet got the bleeding to stop (or at least severely slowed down major blood loss) even over her leggings; just in time, too, as she started losing consciousness. I found out later that she had already passed out once from blood loss, falling between the cars where I found her. No doubt the SAM XT helped save her life by keeping what little blood she had left from leaking out!

What danger did you have to overcome to rescue the potential victim?

Luckily, none as it turned out. Heading to the scene, though, I ran through different scenarios in my head about what might be going on. We never really get told the whole story, especially when it’s something like this where we have to move fast, so it was possible she had been stabbed by somebody else, or that some other details may have been left out or altered.

So what was the conclusion of the story? How did things end up after the dust settled?

Once the SAM XT tourniquet was on, I had a bystander run to grab a new towel to put under her head. Fire/Rescue and EMS responded once I called the scene secure, and she was transported to the hospital. After processing the scene, I followed up at the ER and was told she would be fine. I sat in my patrol car to decompress for a few minutes, and ended up being approached by her cousin (I believe), who was on the phone with the girl’s mother. I was able to hear the relief in the mother’s voice when I said her daughter was going to be ok. That was a very impactful moment.

I later learned from one of the firefighters that the hospital confirmed her right femoral artery had been cut. I haven’t heard anything about how she’s been since the incident — I hope she’s healed up mentally and physically and doing well.

Based on your experience, can you share 5 pieces of advice about how one can become a hero in their own life?

1. Keep your mouth shut — There are many times when simply not saying anything has greatly benefited me, especially when new at a job, interviewing people, or people trying to bait me into an argument. Along the same lines as Verbal Judo, if it would feel good to say it, it’s probably no good.

2. Do something hard (that other people aren’t willing to) — Whatever career, degree, workout plan or hobby you are working on, don’t focus on the parts you are good at — find the things you are bad at, that are difficult, and work to get better at those. Most people stop trying when it gets hard, so if you can buckle down and grind it out, you’ll set yourself apart.

3. Assume that everybody can teach you something — With a little bit of life experience under your belt (ahem, ahem, 15 year olds), an advanced degree, or taste of success, it’s easy to start seeing anybody without these things as “beneath you.” Stay humble, and during every interaction with somebody, instead of dismissing them as “old,” “crazy,” or whatever, find out what you can learn from their passions and knowledge.

4. Find that which gives you meaning — Life is not supposed to be all happiness, all the time. It is a constant cycle of struggle, determination, failure, persistence with moments of joy and happiness. If you don’t have something worth fighting for, you won’t. Responsibilities such as raising kids, mentoring, volunteering and the like are most often what makes the struggle worth it.

5. Be mentally prepared for unpleasantness — This goes for everyone, not just first responders. Car crashes, work accidents, natural disasters, crime and violence are all real, and they hit hardest those people and organizations which aren’t prepared. Simple things like a first aid kit, flashlights, an extremity tourniquet like the SAM XT, and paying attention to your surroundings will prevent so many problems for you. Everyone, even if not involved with emergency services, should learn basic bleeding control methods. It could mean “life” in a life or death situation. There are a few resources available for people to learn bleeding control techniques, including C-TECC.org, Stop the Bleed (bleedingcontrol.org) as well as Big Rapids Department of Safety and other local safety departments. Even some local school nurses incorporate bleeding control into relevant trainings, like school bus driver training and staff CPR training. Most of us live in a very safe, cushy world, and if we don’t prepare ourselves mentally for the bad times, they’ll catch us unaware. Sports players use visualization as a tool, and most first responders I know do as well. Think to yourself, “When (thing) happens, then I will do (this),” and play it in your mind like a movie.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped you when things were tough? Can you share a story about that?

Absolutely! My wife has been by my side during all the stressful times, both in my career and before. Some of the most difficult times I can remember are during summers at college; I was working numerous part-time jobs (5, actually) and going to school full time, and we were also planning our wedding. Without her support and strength, I would never have been as focused or driven as I was.

She also constantly challenges me to improve myself and sets a wonderful example by being a dedicated, hardworking and driven human being.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I recently had the opportunity to assist as a staff member during a week-long Youth Leadership Academy for young teens, run by the Michigan State Police. It was an excellent experience for staff and students alike, and we are in the beginning stages of creating a similar program based locally.

It will be a life-changing experience for those who choose to attend it, pushing them out of their comfort zone and building self-confidence.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I think many of the issues I see in society and among youth in particular relate back to poor parenting or lack of parenting. I would love to see people get their noses out of their phones, engage with their kids, and get back to being present in their own lives and their kids’ lives. Of course it’s easier to sit a kid in front of the TV or a tablet and scroll through Facebook or Instagram, but I think it’s a trade-off of short-term gain for long-term harm.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

President Roosevelt’s “Citizenship in a Republic” speech has one of the most famous passages, known by most as the “Man in the Arena” speech. I think it is famous for good reason, and worthy of including in longer form than just a line or two:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I’m proud of what I’ve achieved personally and professionally, and even more so because I have also failed. I’ve been turned down for jobs and passed over for promotions. My wife and I have struggled with money problems, at one point had $30 for two weeks worth of groceries for two of us, pinched pennies when the kids were born, and had tough times just like everybody else — and what matters is never giving up.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I don’t do much on social media, but what I recommend for networking is that people get to know and talk to their local police officers. They are real people behind that badge, and they have homes, kids, families and interests in the community, just like you.

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

Thank you for having me! There are certainly many other people who deserve the title “Hero” far more than me, but I appreciate the opportunity to talk a little bit about my experience and hopefully inspire others.

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