This article may help some folks consider their mis-fortunes as not quite so bad.
Mike is nominated for the 2006 AMW All Star award. Please vote.
Here is the article...
JAMESTOWN -- Over the past few weeks, we've mourned two longtime Modestans killed in a plane crash, a highway patrolman shot to death on Highway 99 and a Green Beret from Turlock killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.
Incredible amounts of sadness and so many tears shed in such a short time.
So Mike Remmel's resilience and determination offer a feel-good story when we really can use one.
Remmel is the 49-year-old California Highway Patrolman who lost parts of both legs when he was struck by a pickup Jan. 10 near Sonora.
The truck severed his left leg above the knee and his right leg about four inches above the ankle. But it didn't dent his spirit.
He doesn't ask, "Why me?"
He holds no animosity toward 79-year-old Bernice Martinez, driver of the pickup that hit him at 45 miles an hour.
Instead, he has become an inspiration to his co-workers, who have grown closer as a group since his accident. He refuses to engage in self-pity, vowing instead to return to active duty.
"This isn't ugly," he said, pointing to legs that soon will be fitted for prosthetics. "This isn't sad. It's just me. I'm good with it. Would I like to have legs? Yes. But I'm OK with it this way, too."
A life-altering issue, yes, Remmel said. But not a life-ruining one.
"This is not a low point in my life," he said. "It's just a turn in direction."
Remmel reached that conclusion the moment he awoke, surrounded by his family after being unconscious for three days in Modesto's Doctors Medical Center.
"My mom, dad, brothers, sisters-in-law, my wife and children," Remmel said, occasionally massaging the pain out of his left leg during an interview in the CHP's Jamestown office. "All I could think about was that I was still here. I wasn't dead. I'm alive. And not only am I alive, I'm coherent. I thank God I have what's left of me. I'm going to survive. I'm going to see my kids graduate from high school. I'm here."
So many things -- some unexplainable -- lined up to save him, Remmel and others agree.
"God was everywhere that night," said officer Mike Buller, who was standing about 200 feet away when the accident occurred. "He was all over this one."
Every day at work, Remmel took a long look at a photo he kept in his locker before heading out on patrol. It's a picture of his family, reminding him of his daily mission.
"To get home to my family at the end of my shift," he said.
The night he was hit, Remmel had responded to a call at Highway 49 and Parrotts Ferry Road, where a Mercedes had gone off the road and was mired in the mud. It was a noninjury accident. The injury would come minutes later.
Remmel summoned a tow truck. Two came. One of them pulled the Mercedes out, and both vehicles were about 15 feet off the highway.
Suddenly, Martinez's pickup veered off the highway, hitting Remmel and then plowing into the Mercedes and the tow truck so hard that it tore the rear axle off the tow truck.
"It's dark," Remmel said. "The next thing I know, I see lights three or four feet away. I realize it's going to hit me. I feel myself flying through the air. The pain in my legs -- it was absolutely agonizing."
He landed on his crushed legs and crumpled to the ground, screaming. And that, Buller said, is when the miracles began.
The tow truck drivers, Mike Winter and Leon Vires, applied the tourniquets that kept Remmel from bleeding to death.
Conscious throughout, Remmel told one of them not to tighten the tourniquet.
"I said, 'I'll lose my leg,'" Remmel recalled. "He looked down at me and said, 'It's gone.'"
A massage therapist named Jennifer Corporandy, who by chance took a different route home that night, stopped to help.
"She goes and sits on the ground and holds his hand," Buller said.
"(God) gave Mike two tow truck drivers -- one for each leg," Buller said. "He gave him a comforter, an angel (Corporandy). She was so calm. The best dispatchers were on duty. The best helicopter pilot, the best orthopedic surgeon."
Paramedics arrived in just three minutes, Buller said. They transported Remmel about two miles to the Columbia Airport, where they loaded him into a helicopter and sent him to Modesto.
Only 17 minutes elapsed from the time Remmel was hit until he was on his way to Modesto with Buller at his side.
Meanwhile, CHP Lt. Mike Ayala knocked on the front door of Remmel's home near Sonora.
"Nobody ever comes to our door," Roberta Remmel said. "I figured it must be a neighbor needing a cup of sugar or something. Then I heard Mike Ayala say, 'Roberta?'"
Mike Remmel liked to separate work and family, socializing with other officers mostly in the break room and not so much off duty.
So when Ayala came to break the news, "it was the first time I'd ever met him," Roberta said. "He said, 'I don't know how to tell you this, but Mike's been in an accident. We're taking him to Modesto.'"
As she and Ayala drove to Modesto, other CHP officers came to stay with Kristin, 16, and Nicholas, 14. They knew little about Remmel's condition.
"My son took that to mean I was dead," Mike Remmel said.
It wasn't until Roberta reached the hospital, holding Mike's hand for just a moment before he went into surgery, that she understood the scope of his injuries and could tell the children.
Since then, Remmel's attitude has astounded co-workers, who call him an inspiration. Just days after the accident, Ayala visited Remmel in the hospital.
"He looked at me and said, 'I've got my mind. I've got my body. I can get through this,'" Ayala said. "I knew I'd see it (Remmel's character). I didn't think I'd see it so soon."
Three weeks after the accident, Remmel visited the CHP office. It helped, said officer Tom Wills, Remmel's oldest friend on the force.
"Our guys had a real problem handling his accident," Wills said. "When he came back into the office for the first time, it took a lot of the stress off of this group."
"It's changed our whole office," Buller said. "There's a big, huge bonding that wasn't here before."
Remmel attended the recent funeral in Modesto for Earl Scott, the CHP officer shot to death on Highway 99 in February.
The stoic demeanor Remmel once displayed in those kinds of situations disappeared. He sobbed openly for Scott. And he cried for himself because, he said, "I'm happy I'm here."
He'll need at least one more surgery on his right leg before he can be fitted with an artificial foot. His left leg is nearly ready for the state-of-the-art "C-Leg" prosthetic.
"If I can pass the CHP's agility test -- climb over a 6-foot wall and do the other things the CHP requires -- I'll go back on patrol," Remmel said.
And an officer who once dreaded dealing with the media at crime scenes now has something to say:
"Tragedies happen," Remmel said. "Move on and move up. Don't get down. Look at it as change. I honestly believe my life is going to be better -- even better than if I'd gone on with both legs."
Despite his misfortune, Remmel feels good.
It couldn't have come at a better time.
In the above link type in Michael Remmel in the search box.
Or you could find his profile currently on page 8 but that might change if others are nominated.
Vote once a week until April 21, 2006.
Here is a link to view his picture if you don't see it as an attached picture.
What an amazing and brave man and an inspiration to all. God bless him.
I agree Dayna. He has an awesome attitude.
I'll like to express my appreciation to all of you who took the time to read the article and voted. Thank you!!! :hug:
As a reminder you can vote once a week until April 21.
For those of you who maybe voting, you can vote again this week. Thank you!
Wow. Talk about a good mindset....
Just a friendly reminder to vote this week. :)
Thanks to everyone that is voting! :kiss:
Today is the last day to vote.
Your vote is very much appreciated. Thank you! :hug:
Nevermind it is closed already.