When we think of heroes, images of caped crusaders and faster-than-a-speeding-bullet strongmen inevitably come to mind. But many everyday heroes don’t have superpowers. They earn their heroic status by doing small things every day – sometimes things as small as taking a step.
When Oklahoma City Police Officer Chad Peery rose from his wheelchair and pushed himself to take a few steps across the Thunder shield at center court during last night’s game at Chesapeake Arena, nobody in the building doubted that he was a hero.
Peery was honored as the Devon Community Hero last night and accepted the award on his feet.
After suffering life-threatening injuries during a brutal assault nearly two years ago, Peery probably wouldn’t have believed that the steps he took last night would be possible – nor that the outpouring of community support he received following that incident would be so significant.
“It’s been a major backbone to me being able to make my recovery,” Peery said last night.
But nobody could overcome the adversity he faced for him. Peery had to do it himself – one small goal at a time.
“My first goal was, I wanted to be able to hug my kids,” he said. ” … It’s been small steps along the way and kind of just keep moving the bar up.”
Right now, the bar is at a point where Peery is back on the job – working in the cybercrime unit at OKCPD – and is able to take steps actual small steps with the help of a walker.
In addition to his personal recovery, Peery is also focusing the community support he’s received on helping other police officers and their families. He founded the Chad Peery Foundation in order to assist fellow officers with spinal cord and other disabling injuries.
If the emotional ovation he received last night is any measure of the way his story and his efforts have impacted this community, then Peery should be able to keep pushing the bar higher as he takes time for his recovery and gives back to those around him.
You can see clips from last night’s ceremony on the Thunder website: watch the video here.
- Karina Henderson