MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A South Florida police officer who lost both of his legs in a motorcycle crash earlier this year was among trauma patients who reunited Wednesday with the people who saved their lives.
"I'm just so grateful that they did their best to help me," Miami police Officer Mario Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez thanked the doctors and first responders who treated him after his devastating motorcycle crash, which was set up as part of Kendall Regional Medical Center's Trauma Survivors Day.
"I lost my legs. They're not growing back. This is my new life. This if my new normal," Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez was off duty when he crashed his motorcycle into another car just before 10 a.m. Feb. 3 on Southwest Eighth Street, 13 miles west of Krome Avenue.
The impact was so severe, his legs had to be amputated. He was rushed in serious condition to Kendall Regional Medical Center, where he spent at least 50 days getting treatment.
"Every ligament, nerve, bond, blood vessel in his legs was shattered," Dr. Mark McKenney said.
Gonzalez was also able to thank a Good Samaritan -- a wildlife officer with emergency medical training -- who helped him moments after the crash.
"An honor. (It was) an honor to help him," the officer said.
Gonzalez said his family and friends got him through the lowest points along with help from the community and his brothers and sisters in blue.
"It gives you a good feeling to know people care about you," Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said he fully intends to walk again and has at least another year of rehab left on his long road to recovery.