Butler and Dick Mappus of James Island have won The Post and Courier’s Golden Pen award for April for their letter to the editor “Lower Ravenel Bridge suicide risks.”
The letter began: “We lost our 20-year-old son, Jules Mappus, on Feb. 27, 2015, by suicide from the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. There are no words to begin to describe the pain and devastation our family is going through. There are two reasons why we are writing this letter. First, we would like to thank all of the first responders and agencies that helped us in the initial days and then weeks of this tragedy. ... The second reason for our letter is to ask that new safety measures be considered for the bridge. A higher barrier needs to be placed on the southbound lane of the Ravenel Bridge.”
The letter explained: “Our son chose the southbound lane because the existing barrier is only 34 inches high. It is very quick and easy to cross when compared to the 6.4 foot (76 inch) vertical railing along the northbound lane. Perhaps if it had taken more time and effort to cross he might have reconsidered. Or possibly someone might have seen him and tried to talk to him. Also, the cameras on the bridge are live feed only and do not record.”
The letter asked “the public to support our campaign for a higher barrier and cameras that record,” adding, “Please help us try to prevent another family from losing a loved one by suicide from this bridge because right now it is just way too easy.”
Golden Pen winners are invited to an annual luncheon with the editorial staff.