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Learning to Walk Towards a New Life

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Posted: Friday, April 7, 2017 10:04 am | Updated: 11:07 am, Fri Apr 14, 2017.

Rotary of Homestead encourages the community to come together to support the inspirational Javi Perez with his goal of walking on new prosthetic legs

All of us have had our ups and downs but how would you react if you were in the prime of your life and an accident left you physically impaired? Would thoughts of pity enter your mind, ”why me God.” Perhaps you would ponder, “do I just give up on life or perhaps take this as a challenge setting new goals?"

A quote by Napoleon Hill might shed light on the subject, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

The members of the Rotary Club of Homestead were blessed with a personal visit from Javier Perez, the beloved Principal of South Dade High School, who was cut down by a drunk driver last April. As a runner, he would wake up with the challenge of knowing he had lost both of his legs.

The meeting began as usual with the Pledge of Allegiance, a Prayer and the song “America the Beautiful” that we need to work on! We hurried through lunch in our lair at the Capri Restaurant anxious to get to our keynote speaker, Javier Perez, who attended with his charming wife, Maytee.

As Javier took the microphone he began with a little background of his life which included 21 years in the public school system. Known for a variety of bowties, he expressed how much he loved being Principal of South Dade High School over the last 4 years.

Working late as usual, on April 26, 2016, he rushed to Tamiami Park to attend his son's T-Ball game. At the game he reacted to the oncoming disaster. He was able to save two others from an out of control vehicle but took a direct hit that dragged him under the vehicle. Fortunately, an off duty policeman, who had recently finished a life saving course, was watching the game with his son. The officer immediately reacted and applied tourniquets to both of Javier’s mangled legs. He was quickly tranported to the nearest hospital, Kendall Regional.

At the hospital, his family gathered around him being told that he would not make it through the night but the “miracle of prayer” would not let him perish. For a month, Javier was in and out of an induced coma. He received over 100 pints of blood but infection set in and his legs needed to be amputated. Thank goodness one below the knee. By saving the kneen future hope of walking with prosthetic legs could become a long-term reality.

When Javier was allowed to come out of the coma he had no idea that a month had passed, nor did he realize he no longer had legs. His wife, who lived at his bedside, was there to help him prepare for the realization of the extent of his injuries. With the support of his family, his faith, the skills of the medical staff and the involvement of the community, Javier has made remarkable progress as he is learning to walk with his “new legs.” Javier told how it wasn’t easy to look down to see the extent of my injury but one evening my son asked to see what remained of daddy’s legs. His son said, “My daddy is going to have super legs.” That evening, the Perez family accepted the situation and together moved forward.

Javier’s life is not easy - with physical therapy 5 to 6 days a week plus personal, daily exercise to build strength. In parting Javier stated, “my goal is to walk back into South Dade High as I did the morning of April 26th and yes, next time I visit Rotary I will walk in to greet all of you.”

I am proud to be a member of Rotary which made a contribution to the rehabilitation of our inspirational speaker Javier Perez. You can also help by going to the “Go Fund Me” account set up for Javier Perez.

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