Heroes of the Year Elected

Together we were not left alone – Iida and Juha Klemettilä’s help prevented the suicidal young person’s intentions

Last October, truck driver Juha Klemettilä noticed a young girl sitting on the railing of Kirkkosilta bridge at Lapua while driving past. There was something unusual in the vision, and it did not leave Klemettila alone. So he decided to call his daughter Iida Klemettila, who lives near. The solution was the right one, because it likely prevented an irreversible chain of events. The Hero as a Profession campaign awarded Iida and Juha Klemettilä at a gala event held on November 17, 2022.


Juha Klemettilä, the entrepreneur of Lapua’s Kuljetusliike J. Klemettilä Oy, was driving on the evening of October 5 through the Kirkkosilta bridge crossing the Lapuanjoki River, when he noticed something out of the ordinary. A person, a young girl, was sitting on the railing of the bridge, and in light clothing for the time of year. Klemettila couldn’t immediately react to the sight as he drove by, but the thought gnawed him strongly. What was it all about? After thinking for a while, Juha Klemettilä called his daughter Iida Klemettilä, who lives nearby, told her what she had seen, and asked Iida to go to the place to check the situation. “In our family, it has always been said that you have to take care of other people, and this could be the case,” says Juha Klemettilä.

Iida immediately went to the place and noticed the same vision: a young girl was indeed sitting on the railing of the bridge. Iida left her car a little further away and calmly walked towards the girl, who behaved less kindly towards the approaching helper. “She was about 13-14 years old, middle school age, and she answered all the questions being snappy,” says Iida Klemettilä.

As Iida had came to help she did not take this personally and continued to calmly talk to the girl. “After about half an hour of talking, I got her to open up a bit and answer the questions,” says Iida. “It turned out that the girl had had an argument at home and was upset. The thought of jumping off the bridge had occurred to me,” Klemettilä continues.


Help came in the right way and at the right time

When Iida had established a conversation with his calm nature, he decided to try to get the girl to agree to leave the bridge and get into the car to warm up from the October evening. In the end, this was successful, and the conversation continued in the car. Together we thought about what to do next. “She didn’t really have a clear idea, but it became clear that the girl didn’t want to go home.” Iida asked to call the emergency center, and figure it out that way. The girl agreed to this. “I called 112 and they promised to send help. I was wondering what kind of help would be sent from there, because there was no mention of it,” says Iida. “About half an hour later, they called back that the ambulance was coming, but it took another hour or so for it to arrive,” Klemettilä continues. In other words, Iida was helping the girl and nearby for about two hours before professional help arrived. Without reacting to the issue and active help, a lot of unpleasant things could have happened in that time.

“When the ambulance arrived, I asked the nursing staff to respect the girl’s wish not to take her home. I don’t know how the events progressed, but hopefully well,” Iida Klemettilä says in conclusion.

The Profession as a Hero campaign has decided to award Iida and Juha Klemettilä as Heroes of 2022 for this work. Without their cooperation and the quick and considered action that followed, as well as taking into account the totality of the situation, the decision of the October evening could have been sad. Simply calling for help would probably not have led to the same outcome in this case, so it was of the utmost importance that Iida Klemettilä take care of the situation and the girl involved in it at all times.

The jury also highlighted Juha Klemettilä’s determination, because today the threshold for interfering with phenomena visible in street scenes, for example, can be perceived as too high. In its selection, the jury of the Asmatti Sankari campaign pointed out that often even obvious cases can go unreacted, not to mention open to interpretation. However, Klemettila decided to react to the matter he had thought about quickly, and in a way that got the chain of help started as quickly as possible.

The Hero gala awarded Iida and Juha Klemettilä in Helsinki, at the Katajanokka Casino on November 17, 2022, with a check for 5,000 euros, of which the Sankari donated 2,500 euros to the charity of their choice, Mieli ry. The Profession as a Hero (Ammattina Sankari) campaign has awarded professionals working in heavy traffic annually in Finland for a decade. The partners of the campaign are Bridgestone Europe Finland branch, Rahtarit Ry, Milcoa, Scania Suomi and Heavy Kalusto magazine.