Help Hal Walk Again…

“That’s not going to happen to me!”

That’s what many of us think when as we go about our daily lives. We go to work, drive home and spend time with our families, all the while dismissing the potential that a single instance can have to change our lives forever. The feeling is even stronger when we are just performing routine tasks that we have done countless times before.

On March 26, 2022, that same thought passed through Hal’s mind as he was doing yard work around his Florida home, unaware that he would nearly lose his life before the day was over.

Like many of us, Harold “Hal” Davis is an “ordinary” person. He is 53 years old and lives in Central Florida with his wife, Cyndi.  They have been married for 26 years and have two adult children: his son “Lil’” Hal and his daughter Hannah. The Davis family is a God-loving family and Hal regularly puts his family’s needs before his own.  Hal enjoys spending time with his family when he's not at work and they have all enjoying hunting together during duck season. Like most fathers, Hal is looking forward to the day he can walk his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day.

Hal has worked in law enforcement for 30 years, and for the past 15 years, he has worked at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Orlando, FL, where he is responsible for providing training to over 180 deputies. He also works part-time at Valencia College CJI where he provides instruction to new law enforcement recruits going through the police academy. Many of you may know/recognize Hal from the many years he has worked at the Florida SWAT Association’s SWAT Round-Up Competition, Training and Vendor Show event on the Pre-Work Crew, Vendor Crew and as a Range Safety Officer.

On March 26, 2022, that dream, along with Hal’s work and family time, were nearly extinguished. Hal was working in the yard and was cutting a large limb from a tree. As the limb was about to separate, it moved unexpectedly, swinging towards him instead of away from him as he intended. In an instant, Hal went from standing on a 10’ ladder, which was being supported by his wife, to the ground, striking his wife on her head and shoulder just before striking his own head on the ground. As he struck the ground, Hal felt his neck snap and he quickly lost the ability to breathe. He tried desperately to talk, but being unable to breathe, he was unable to say anything to his wife before he lost consciousness.

Cyndi recovered and tried to assist Hal, but when she checked his breathing and pulse, she found both missing. She began screaming for help, hoping that someone would hear her and come to assist them while she tried to perform CPR on him. As if by a miracle, a neighbor who was usually never home during the day happened to hear her cries for help and rushed over, calling 911 for them. During this time, Hal saw white clouds and lights, and genuinely believed that his time was up… but it wasn’t his time just yet.

Hal was air-lifted to a nearby hospital for emergency care. During his initial time there, Hal underwent several examinations on his neck and the doctor’s there performed emergency surgery to try to fix some of the damage. Once this was done, doctors and nurses came to speak to Hal and explained that the damage to his spine was causing his paralysis. A few days later and after conducting a few tests to see if he could move his body independently or if he could feel anything in his arms and legs, Hal was told that he may have to prepare to live the remainder of his life in an automated wheelchair.

Work…family life…dreams…all nearly destroyed in an instant.

Hal is a hard worker and he is determined to get better. Instead of focusing on everything he has potentially lost, Hal is putting all his energy into what he wants to gain (and what so many of us take for granted)…the ability to walk. And although he knows this is going to be a long journey, he has already made progress—a week after the accident, after being unable to move his lower body at all, he was able to move his toes!

As you might imagine, the unexpected costs of what is not being covered by health insurance and the indirect costs that have become necessary to help Hal continue his rehabilitation are taking a toll on the family’s budget.  A Go-Fund-Me page (link attached) has been started to help Hal and his family during these uncertain times.  If you choose to donate, you would be helping Hal by contributing to the medical bills he will receive during his stay at the Shepard Center, which is his best chance to walk again. But most importantly, your donation, no matter the size, tells Hal that there are people in his corner thinking about him, praying for his recovery, and hoping that he will achieve his dream of being able to walk again.

Thank you for taking the time to read Hal’s story and thank you for your  thoughts, prayers, and any support you are willing to provide!