Who says dreams don’t come true? Just ask Chris Lawrence. The Marine vet realized his when he was recently hired as a police officer by the Chula Vista Police Department in California.
While this may seem totally normal, it’s different. Like many of this country’s veterans, Lawrence came to the batter’s box with a bit more of a backstory. He’s an amputee.
When Lawrence was only 20, he found himself in Iraq serving with fellow Marines. An improvised explosive device went off as he crossed a bridge, critically damaging his feet and left arm. It was months before he started walking again, and when he did, his right leg wasn’t responding and ultimately had to be amputated.
“I always looked up to them and thought about becoming an officer after I got out of the Marine Corps, that’s something I would do,” Lawrence told Fox News.
A lot of people in the military try to get onto their local police force when they come back from active duty, and most of them get hired because they already have extensive battle experience and training. But that wasn’t the case for Lawrence. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department initially offered him an opportunity to wear a badge, but ultimately rejected him because of his physical limitations.
Everyone knows that most police officers have to be in top shape in order to be hired on for duty, so while it didn’t come as a surprise, it was quite the dream crusher.
“I put so much work and time. I trained every day. I ran every day,” Lawrence said.
Another Marine veteran suggested Lawrence try the police academy at Southwestern College in Chula Vista. And that’s when things turned around for him. The instructors there gave him an opportunity, and hired him. Now he’ll be an actual California police officer.
This isn’t the first time a police force has hired an injured veteran, either. A U.S. Marine vet who lost his legs during a tour of duty in Afghanistan was sworn in as an officer with the Suffolk County Police Department in New York earlier this year. He is believed to be the first-ever double amputee to become a full active duty police officer in the U.S.
What’s braver than a veteran wanting to go back out and fight for freedom and safety domestically after they’ve been injured overseas? Why wouldn’t a police force want someone that dedicated on their team?
Good for these guys and the departments who have hired them.