Paralyzed Police Officer Recovers to Walk His Daughter Down the Aisle

(Photo Credit: Screenshot/Public/Twitter/Orange County Sherriff's Office)

Master Deputy Harold Davis (pictured above on left), or “Hal” to his friends, serves in the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Florida.

Everything changed one day while he was at home doing some yard work.  He was hit by a tree limb.  It was a freak accident, as the family describes the situation. He was seriously injured and could no longer walk.

Cyndi, his wife, describes Hal as an “ordinary” person. They raised two great kids, focused on faith and family, and have been married for 26 years. “Hal regularly puts his family’s needs before his own,” Cyndi writes. “He has worked in law enforcement for 30 years, and for half that time, it was with the OCSO in Orlando.” [1]

Hal’s duties include providing training to nearly 200 deputies. He also works with Valencia Community College, instructing new recruits going through the police academy.

He dreamed of walking his daughter down the aisle during her wedding, but that all seemed to disappear after the accident in his yard.

Hal Only Spent Two Weeks in the Hospital After Breaking His Neck

After receiving two weeks of care, including emergency surgery on his neck to repair some of the damage, he decided to continue his treatment elsewhere. The Davis family moved to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, a facility specializing in rehabilitation for individuals with spinal cord injuries.

During those two weeks, his career and the dreams he had for the future seemed to be up in the air. Then Hal began to regain some movement in his toes. That’s when he knew what had to be done. [2]

Doctors still thought Hal would spend the rest of his life in an automated wheelchair, but he was determined to take a different path. It would be a year of intense therapy, but if he believed that is he kept persevering, he could walk with assistance to take his daughter, Hannah, down the aisle on her wedding day.

The hard work doesn’t offer any guarantees. Most people in Hal’s position require at least two years of rehabilitation before they regain a majority of movement and sensation. Even then, getting to a 100% result is extremely rare. [3]

His Smile Says It All While Offering Hope to Others

We are happy to report that Hal did it!

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office posted a video of Hal walking Hannah down the aisle on social media. They described the event as “making so many prayers come true.”

“We are so happy for Hal and his entire family,” said the OCSO. [5]

About 300,000 people in the United States live with a spinal cord injury. Thankfully, Hal’s injury was not a complete SCI, which is a lesion that cuts across the entire cord to stop all connections between the brain and the area below the injury.

Most individuals with spinal cord injuries experience some level of functional recovery. Many do not recover fully to re-enter the workforce, with only 21% employed after five years of rehab. [6]

If you ask Hal, he will be that one person in five who defies the odds. More hard work might be ahead, but he’s ready to make things happen.

The Shepherd Center Changes Lives Each Day

“Our goal is simple,” says Shepherd Center’s website. “We deliver life-renewing neurorehabilitation with unwavering heart, humor, and hope. When you and your family join ours, we light your path to healing, infusing care and compassion into every interaction, treatment, and outcome.” [6]

Shepherd Center is the only rehabilitation facility in the United States with an intensive care unit and on-site acute medical components. These resources allow for a faster start to the rehab process than other facilities provide.

“We’re not a general rehabilitation hospital like the majority of facilities you will encounter,” said Vice President and Chief Information Officer Brian Barnette. “That means we have more experience dealing with situations that families face today.”

Over 50% of the patients treated at Shepherd Center travel from outside of Georgia to participate in and complete the facility’s continuum of care. Numerous value-added programs contribute to a high quality of life while recovering, including patient outings, recreational therapy, and extensive family training.

“I am grateful that our staff is committed to providing top-notch healthcare to patients, from their first days in our ICU to continuing to their emotion-filled graduation ceremonies and beyond,” said Shepherd Center Co-Founder James Shepherd, Jr. “The staff invests in each patient as an individual with endless potential on their path to rehabilitation.”



[1] https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-hal-walk-again[2] https://www.fox4news.com/news/watch-paralyzed-deputy-regains-movement-walks-daughter-down-the-aisle[3] https://www.wesh.com/article/orange-county-deputy-daughter-wedding/43358665# ; [4] https://www.facebook.com/OrangeCoSheriff/videos/155946474027193[5] https://www.flintrehab.com/spinal-cord-injury-statistics/; [6] https://www.shepherd.org/why-shepherd/why-choose-shepherd