My name is Kevin Trees and I’m a one-legged cop. Most people throughout my life have called me Trees, and most people I encounter everyday on the streets just call me Tree, without the letter “s”, because for some reason that “s” never makes it on the end of my name in a judicial proceeding or court of law or during a DUI walk and turn. Nevertheless, I am an amputee and not the mere flesh wound sort where a foot is missing, but a full-fledged above the knee kind. Actually, I have a leg and a half but in the world of amputees, there seems to be no such thing. We deal with ones, twos, or none, but nothing half. As a one-legged AKA cop, I am part of a rare group of about four in the entire country, which is not a large number, but enough to hold a three-legged sack race. As such, we all have unique stories that involve pain, patience, pain, perseverance, pain and a mixture of humor sprinkled throughout our recipes for success. And did I mention the pain we all dealt with? And really, my story is no better or worse than yours, but probably just as interesting. And since I believe you can learn a lot from a biography, I wanted to share mine with you. So, if you’re interested, sit back, pop off you prosthetic, prop up your stump, and grab a drink. Here’s my story……………….
On April 4, 2003 as the sun was positioning itself in the blue sky for a great afternoon, I went for a much-needed ride on my motorcycle after working the night shift and doing surveillance on a drug dealer’s house. Unfortunately, the only thing I caught that night as I knelt behind a concrete wall in the trash-filled and odiferous alley was a half dozen mosquito bites on an unseasonably warm evening. Still, I didn’t care. I loved my job and it showed. I mean, I was only a rookie of four years and was obsessed with catching bad guys and shutting down dope houses which became my specialty. Thus the reason I sat in a dark alley watching how the drug dealers did their thing. And so good at what I did with shutting down crack houses, that three weeks earlier in mid March of 2003, at our department’s annual award ceremony, I had the honor of being named the 2002 Officer of the Year.
So, as I rode down a long stretch of road only surrounded by Kentucky farm pastures and thinking about my night before, I had not a care in the world; for that was part of the enjoyment of riding a motorcycle. My only real concern that day, or any day, be it in the city or in the country, was being swiftly ambushed by a ninja dog that secretly hid behind a tree or old truck, watching and waiting to orchestrate an assault on my front tire or leg, only to retreat as quickly as he came. The life of a dog… Eat, sleep, eat, bark and blindly attack anything that moves. Then all of a sudden and without the pleasure of a courtesy warning, my life changed forever.
In the blink of an eye, (which is only a guess since I kept my eyes closed) I lost control of my motorcycle which ultimately caused me to careen off the road and slam into a tree at a painfully high rate of speed. And I mean PAINFUL! Like my entire body was hit by the hammer of a careless carpenter. I can only imagine that childbirth didn’t hurt quite as bad because even my wife didn’t scream that loud when she gave birth to our two children. After my unplanned yet eventful ride came to an end, I found myself laying along a peaceful country road bleeding to death and fighting for my life. Struggling to do whatever I could to get anyone attentions, I paused in between my mission to enjoy the surreal silence, only broken by the rustling of trees and the chirp of birds as they perched on a branch directly above my head. After what seemed a lifetime, I was eventually scooped up into the back of an ambulance and given a six-figure stay at our local trauma center where I remained for two months in the intensive care unit. That’s where I had my first 16 surgeries and where I found for the first time ever, reflecting on my past, my present and what my future held. However as bad as my room service and stay was, that was just the beginning of a long recovery…
Kevin wears an Ottobock C-Leg
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