Deciding to excuse medical personnel turned out to be a good idea as shortly after I made this decision I was to need their expertise to save my life.
July 4, 1977 I happened to be off duty so I went to a large outdoor party in a neighboring city. I was with a friend that I had known for many years. Teresa was like a sister to me and her new husband was an acquaintance that I had just met. At this party I noted that there were several attendees and none that I knew. After the bands started to play I got up to dance with Teresa's husband. After about a minute we were attacked. All I remember is that from behind I was hit on the right side of my head with a heavy object. It turned out to have been a camera. After falling to the ground, I was dizzy and hurt, and a large group of people formed a circle around me and began to stomp me and kick me. Cigarettes were also used to burn my arms and legs. Vaguely, I heard the voices of the R&D Security team trying to break up the circle in order to get to me. After what seemed like an eternity I heard a voice I recognized as Ray Garrison, the owner of the Security team. He was finally able to get to me and get the group of men and women who were assaulting me away from me. He stayed with me until the ambulance arrived. I could not move nor consciously understand what had happened. Shortly before being placed in the ambulance I blacked out. The next conscious thing was waking at the hospital Emergency Room.
Per the attending physician I was hurt pretty bad. My face was swollen so that my right eye was black and blue and closed. I hurt all over and I was covered in my own blood, dirt, grass, beer, and who knows what else. My chest hurt the most and the doctor informed me that CPR and the shock paddles had to be used while I was en-route to the hospital as I had basically died. Okay, now I am scared. He reassured me that I was in good hands there at the Army hospital. This hospital was the best trauma center in the area at this time.
After being cleaned up and put in a private room different police dignitaries began visiting me. They were concerned that I wouldn't want to continue my career once I was released. I adamantly informed them that I would be back and I wanted to find who did this to me and why!
After a couple of days I was transferred to a civilian hospital. While completing an exam I discovered that I had no feeling in my legs. I was unable to move them either and I began to scream and cry. I was paralyzed from the waist down. The doctors prepared me that I may not ever walk again. The trauma of being kicked in my lower back numerous times damaged my nerves.
WHY ME? At first I was in total shock and disbelief, then I got angry, and then I became determined to prove the doctors wrong. I began physical therapy in earnest and worked night and day to exercise. By the end of the year I was walking with a cane and back to work, administrative light duty. I had been through depression and much anger to get me back on my feet, literally.
During some of my weakest moments I was encouraged with daily by updates from our detective division that the District Attorney's Office gave Killeen PD jurisdiction over the location of my aggravated assault to investigate and prosecute those that participated as the local jurisdiction was not going to pursue any charges. Eventually, the guilty parties were identified and arrested. By the time the case was to go to court I was walking without aids. I was back.
The case never went to court as all the people involved pled out. One man and one woman went to prison. The others went to a short-termed facility and paid a hefty fine and was on probation for several years. The court also ordered them to pay ALL of my medical bills. The reason for the assault was two fold. One was that I was a police officer and the other was that this family of thugs thought I was married to the man I was dancing with and one of them was jealous as she had had a relationship with him in the past. Being arrested and going to jail was commonplace for this family. Personally, I never heard of them but I was due to interact with them for years to come.
After everything was said and done this whole experience proved to be valuable. I became much more cautious in my everyday work and therefore I felt in a strange way, it served as my salvation.........