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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – KDKA’s story last week about a Snapchat hero from Pittsburgh is getting national attention after he helped save the life of a girl in Texas.
On Wednesday, a mother from Washington State who lost a son to suicide says she had to meet this young man.
He’s known as the “Snapchat Hero,” and his actions have started a viral movement to raise awareness about suicide prevention.
Gabe Rongier, 12, from Fox Chapel alerted authorities in East Texas last month after he saw a disturbing post from a young girl on Snapchat who said she intended to harm herself.
Police went to the girl’s home. They intervened and got her the help she needed.
Texas Police later reached out to Gabe, calling him a hero and thanking him for saving a life.
A mother in Washington State who lost her son, Kess, to suicide in December saw Gabe’s story and insisted on meeting the middle-schooler.
Annie Ackerman-Brown now travels the country raising awareness about suicide prevention. She encourages young people to treat their friends with kindness and compassion and to “say something” when a friend is in distress.
Ackerman-Brown just happened to have a trip planned to Pittsburgh this week.
It’s one of the most bittersweet moments,” Ackerman-Brown said after she met Gabe for the first time in downtown Pittsburgh on Monday night. “Because knowing that the message that my husband and I have been delivering to other kids that were near Kess’s age, that when — you know your friend and when they’re not feeling right you’ve got to step up and say something.”
“I always help people before me because I want them to feel better,” Gabe said.
Ackerman-Brown gave Gabe the gift of a special coin she and her husband had made to memorialize Kess, who was 19, and to remind young people to help friends in need. One side reads “Victory and Honor,” two characteristics Kess embraced in the game of lacrosse, at which he excelled.
Ackerman-Brown says she is impressed with Gabe’s intuition and compassion.
“You gave her hope, and you let her know someone cares about her,” Ackerman-Brown said about the Texas girl while hugging Gabe.
Ackerman-Brown says Gabe’s actions will impact her family forever.
“He (Ackerman-Brown’s husband) always said, ‘Kess you have so much greatness within you,’ and we’re going to make sure that legacy carries on.”