Eighteen months ago Andy Wilder stood on the Cowlitz Way Bridge, considering ending his life. The veteran was homeless, suffering from epilepsy and drug addiction.
“I was standing (on) the bridge ready to just give it up and I said, ‘You know what God, if you’re really here, I need some help,’ ” Wilder recalled. At that moment, pain shot through his abdomen and he collapsed on the sidewalk. A passerby noticed him, and he was taken to St. John Medical Center. He was treated and released a few days later.
The experience was a turning point for Wilder, who has seizures as the result of a head injury from his service the U.S. Navy in the 1970s. After his hospital stay, he lived with friends for a few weeks before moving into a veteran’s emergency shelter. He entered a drug treatment program, and last July landed a flat in the Stratford Apartments on Hemlock Street in Longview.