OCEANSIDE, Calif. – Against enormous odds, a Marine veteran amputee is about to realize his dream of becoming a police officer.
Chris Lawrence is that man. He’s been hired by the Chula Vista Police Department in Southern California. His journey has been long and painful, reported Fox 5 San Diego.
Lawrence served in the Marine Corps. At 20 years of age, he found himself in Iraq serving with fellow Marines. An improvised explosive device was set off as he crossed a bridge, critically damaging his feet and left arm.
Sadly, it would be months before he started walking again. Yet when he did, his right leg wasn’t responding and was ultimately 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 said.
Years later, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department initially offered him a job opportunity. However, they ultimately rejected Lawrence because of his physical limitations.
“I put so much work and time. … trained every day. I ran every day,” Lawrence said.
Marine Veteran Amputee Graduates Police Academy
Another Marine veteran suggested Lawrence try the police academy at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, where instructors gave him an opportunity.
Eleven months later, he graduated and will be sworn in Friday morning.
“I wouldn’t have ever guessed nine, 10 years ago when I got injured that I would be achieving this,” Lawrence said. “I want to have the impact on the community that those officers had on me when I was younger and I want to return every favor I’ve gotten and make sure that I can do everything I can to help the citizens of Chula Vista.”
Lawrence joins fellow Marine amputee-turned-police-officer, Matias Ferreira, who graduated from the Suffolk County Police Academy earlier this year. Incredibly, Ferreira is a double amputee, losing both legs during combat in Afghanistan. He now works for the Suffolk County Police Department in New York.
Congratulations Officer Lawrence on your accomplishment. We wish you all the best as you begin your new endeavor.
(Photos screenshot Fox 5 San Diego News broadcast)