Lead by example. That's how New York State Trooper Matthew Swartz tries to live his life after his accident.
And that is why Senator Farley (R, C - Schenectady) will be giving him the New York State Senate's Achievers' Award on May 23rd during a Statewide ceremony in Albany.
It was a typical day for New York State Trooper Matthew Swartz on November 8, 2004. He was taking his wife to work that morning when the ordinary became tragic. A car drove into the side of the vehicle he was driving, causing his truck to spin out of control and crash. As a result, Trooper Swartz was thrown into a fight for his life. He sustained skull fractures, a brain injury, broken right arm and a crushed left foot, and the main artery in his left leg was severed.
Trooper Swartz was in a coma for five weeks. He awoke to discover the doctors were unable to save his left leg and they amputated the limb below the knee.
It was a long road to recovery for Trooper Swartz. Not only did he have to learn how to use a prosthetic leg in his everyday life, he also faced significant obstacles in trying to return to his former law enforcement career. He could do desk duty, but he loved his old job as a regular State Trooper and wanted to return to it.
On October 10, 2005, he returned to work with absolutely no restrictions.
"With determination like this, Trooper Swartz is more than a role model to his community," Senator Farley said, "he is truly an inspiration. I will be truly honored on May 23rd to present Trooper Swartz with the Achievers' Award."
The prestigious award recognizes an individual's ability to overcome personal physical challenges and honors his or her accomplishments.
"The Achievers' Award is an honor that recognizes the triumph of an individual over sometimes daunting physical challenges and is bestowed on those whose efforts serve as an example of courage, personal excellence and achievement for our entire community," Senator Farley said. "Trooper Swartz more than fits that description."
Senator Farley added that Trooper Swartz also educates and inspires his community with speeches on his experience. He will be the guest speaker at the Jansen Avenue school on May 19th. Trooper Swartz has also become a Peer Support Visitor for the Amputee Coalition of America where he assists injured soldiers and police officers. This summer he will be participating in the Wounded Warrior Project where he will be going to Breezy Point, Long Island, to help amputee soldiers learn how to water ski. He will also be volunteering to help the Windham Adaptive Sports Foundation with their summer activities for handicapped children.
The New York State Senate Achievers' Awards are presented each year in conjunction with Senate Disability Awareness Day, an annual event sponsored by the Senate to raise public awareness of the efforts and accomplishments of citizens with disabilities.