A Marine Corps veteran whose legs were blown off when a roadside bomb exploded in Iraq became just the second double amputee law enforcement officer in the United States on Friday.
On Friday, the 35-year-old, along with 25 other new police officers, was sworn in by the Fort Worth Police Department. According to a video by the Forth Worth Police Department, Zach Briseno had always wanted to be a police officer and refused to let the loss of both of his legs stop him from achieving his dream.
“You can do anything you want to do, you just really have to put the work in for it,” Briseno said in the video.
Enlisting in the Marines right after high school, Briseno sustained the life-changing injuries in 2007 in Iraq’s Fallujah Province. The Texas Marine was sitting in the passenger seat of an armored vehicle with a number of other Devil Dogs when the vehicle drove over a command-detonated improvised explosive device.
“I started to feel a little bit of pain and a burning sensation in the lower half of my body. So then right away I was like ‘hey something is not right, something is not right.’ I didn’t realize the severity of it.” Briseno said.
Briseno’s fellow Marines immediately put tourniquets on their injured brother in arms, assuring him that he would be ok.
“I just remember telling them, hey tell my son I love him,” Briseno said.
Following the attack, Briseno learned to walk again using prosthetic legs. The Marine veteran does not have a noticeable limp and was able to run miles and participate in physical activities required in police academy training, NBC DFW reported.
“I wanted to serve my country and then I wanted to come back and serve my community,” Briseno said.
The double-amputee father of four also contracted COVID-19, but managed to kick the illness and complete academy training in spite of the setback, Fox News reported.
“Don’t give up,” he told the station. “Leave the past in the past and keep moving forward. Our time tomorrow isn’t always promised. You’ve got to make the best today.”