Police giving back after close call
IT HAS been almost two years since Sergeant Mark Andrews was the victim of a near-fatal incident in the line of duty, but after a long recovery he's back on the bike.
In May 2015 near Emerald Beach, police were deploying road spikes in an attempt to stop a police vehicle they were pursuing.
Sgt Andrews was hit by the vehicle and taken to John Hunter Hospital in a serious condition.
"I ended up spending seven days in intensive care in a coma and then five months in hospital,” Sgt Andrews said.
"I had a fractured pelvis, I had to have my right knee totally reconstructed, had some nerve damage in my foot, some superficial cuts and abrasions, and a head injury as well.
"I was off work for many, many months but with the support from these guys (police officers) and the medical staff involved in the whole process, it gave me the encouragement to return as soon as I could back to work and repay those that stood behind and beside me the whole time.”
Sgt Andrews and Highway Patrol supervisor Sergeant Jarrod Langan are two of four Australian police officers travelling to the United States in May to participate in the Police Unity Tour to pay their respects and remember fallen police officers.
The 450km journey, which will include up to 2200 bike riders, spans four days and begins in New Jersey, finishing in Washington for the start of National Police Week in the US.
"It's more of a personal challenge I suppose to participate in such a prestigious and very solemn ride to remember those police officer who weren't as fortunate as I,” Sgt Andrews said.
"I survived, but unfortunately others are killed in the line of duty.”
Sgt Langan said the rally had significant meaning for all police officers.
"We finish up in Washington DC for a candlelight vigil for Police Memorial Day, so it'll be a touching evening and something we're looking forward to,” he said.
While their airfares and accommodation are paid, the officers still need to raise about US$1850, which goes to a charity and the logistics behind conducting the four-day event.
Sgt Andrews and Sgt Langan each have a web page for fundraising and are asking for donations.
Any donations would be greatly appreciated.