On April 20, 2009, just before 6 a.m. and less than an hour before his shift was finished, Officer Brandon Gehring of the Lockland Police Department nearly lost his life.
A police cruiser struck Gehring while he was placing stop sticks on the highway to aid officers who were in pursuit of a suspected robber.
“When I got hit, I pretty much died,” Gehring said. “They had to do CPR on me.”
Gehring spent three days unconscious at University Hospital. It wasn’t until he woke up alone in the Intensive Care Unit that he realized something terrible had happened.
“At the time I woke up, no one was in there, so I didn’t know what was going on. I saw my picture on the TV, which was on the news in my room,” Gehring said. “I still didn’t know what was going on. My mom and the doctors finally told me that I got hit on the highway and that they didn’t think I would be able to walk again, and I definitely wouldn’t be able to work again.”
Gehring had fractured the base of his skull and several vertebrae; he had broken his ulna, all the ribs on his left side, most of the ribs on his right side and his sternum. The base of his heel was ripped off, and his kneecap was protruding from the skin.
He spent three weeks in the hospital, two weeks in the Drake Center and months in rehabilitative therapy, but his prognosis was still grim.
“Even when I started doing my rehab, they said I would still probably never go back to work,” Gehring said. “That was pretty tough.”
In addition to the stress that Gehring and his family incurred as a result of Gehring’s injury and the fear that he would never work again, there were still financial responsibilities that needed to be handled.
“I lived by myself at the time, so my mother and my father were trying to help me out by keeping my bills current so that I wouldn’t lose my house and my truck and that kind of thing,” Gehring said.
Because of The Shield, however, Gehring and his family did not have to focus on anything aside from the prospect of Gehring’s care and rehabilitation.
“If the Shield didn’t help me out, my mother probably wouldn’t have known the steps on how to take care of my bills, because I was a pretty private person—took care of my own things,” Gehring said. “[The Shield] helped her with those things. I probably would have lost my truck or my house, because, you know, no one would have been there to pay my bills, so they helped me out with that. I was able to keep everything that I had before.”
After six months of dedication in rehab and a passion to return to his job, Gehring defied expectations and made a full recovery. He is now walking and working again.
Without The Shield’s assistance, Gehring’s life would undoubtedly be different, and he said he’s not sure what he would have done without the organization’s help.
“Before this happened, I really didn’t know what The Shield was. I didn’t participate in anything,” Gehring said. “But after the incident, and after everything they did for me, I really think more people should be involved. It’s not all about just helping police officers. It’s about helping family members, and they really take the burden off of a stressful situation for people.”