TOPEKA (KSNT) – A veteran traveling the country to raise awareness for veteran suicide stopped in Topeka on Thursday, unaware he would save the life of an elderly woman abducted while in her family’s car.
Darren Hafford is raising awareness in all 50 states by doing 50 pushups in 50 days on the steps of every state capital. When he finished completing the challenge in Topeka on August 19, Hafford snapped photos of the Capitol and its surroundings as a way to remember his journey. That’s when he noticed a woman in panic.
“She said, ‘Do you have a cell phone? Do you have a cell phone?’ I said yes and she said, ‘My car is gone my mother is gone. My purse and my phone are all gone,'” Hafford said.
So Hafford jumped into action and called the police. He decided to walk around the statehouse in the meantime to look for the car and fortunately, found it across the street. Someone who had taken the car was in the driver’s seat and the 86-year-old victim, the woman’s mother, sat next to him.
“I said hey what are you doing in this and he said, ‘Oh I’m just trying to help out,'” Hafford said. “I was like no you’re not trying to help out. This car was not parked here you moved this vehicle.”
The driver, who has now been identified as 54-year-old David Baker, tried to run. Hafford then contained the man until the police arrived to arrest him. Now the 86-year-old woman is safe and reunited with her family.
The family is forever grateful for Hafford and wants to raise awareness for his organization.
“Darren we love you and I really appreciate your help. And you saved my mother and my life too,” Li Yang, the daughter of the 86-year-old woman, said.
To learn more about Hafford’s journey and for a link to his GoFundMe page, click here.