Wednesday marked one year since Oklahoma City police officer Chad Peery was attacked by a group of men outside a northwest Oklahoma City bar. That attack left Peery paralyzed and almost cost the father of four his life, but Peery says he is determined to not give up on his road to recovery. Peery says he and others should not dwell on the past but look forward to the future.
"Basically a year ago, I could move my head and kind of flop one arm around," officer Chad Peery said.
Just before the attack, Perry escorted a group of men out of a bar. Moments later he lay motionless in the bar's parking lot with a grim outlook. Now, that outlook has changed.
"Nobody would have ever thought I would have made it this far," Peery said.
For months, Peery could hardly move. He can now stand up with help from staff during therapy sessions. Peery documented the first time he stood up since the attack with video taken on his cell phone. Reaching that goal gave Peery a reason to hope to meet new goals. Peery has walked as far as 250 feet in one stretch with the help of a walker. He started inpatient therapy in March of 2011. He entered outpatient therapy on June 24, 2011 and still continues that process.
"Just keep moving forward," Peery said. "It's kind of been my slogan I guess."
Moving forward for Peery means not wasting time thinking about the men who put him in the position where he now finds himself. Those men are now moving through the court system for the attack.
"I try not to think about those guys because you can't help but get mad and rehash all that, so I try to stay focused on my therapy, my kids, my job," Peery said.
His job is still with the Oklahoma City Police Department. Peery started back with the department in November. He now works indoors at the criminal intelligence section of the department.
"I loved being on the streets, catching the bad guys," Peery said. "I'm still kind of doing that, just in a different form now."
For now, Peery works half days and continues therapy for the other half of the day. One of his earliest goals was to be able to put his arms around his kids. Peery has now reached that goal.
"The first time I did that it definitely put a smile on my face," Peery said.
Peery says his goal now is to be able to move around like he did before the attack. He says the entire experience over the last year has made him more a optimistic person. Peery says he wants to thank the community for playing a huge factor in his recovery.
Last week, one of his attackers was sentenced to ten years. More hearings are expected in the case.