ROCKWELL, N.C.--After losing part of his left leg in a work accident 12 years ago, Fred West received a prosthetic leg. Now he’s pursuing his dream of becoming a police officer.
“As far back as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be a police officer,” said West.
Something West says he thought would never be a reality after he lost his left leg below his knee. He was working in a food lion warehouse, when he was hit by a forklift.
“It knocked my left leg off of the standup jack that I was on and it sandwiched it between a cement pole the standup jack and it just crushed it,” said West.
Since then west received a prosthetic leg. He was turned down by the Air Force, but it didn't stop trainers at the college's Basic Law Enforcement Training Program from accepting him.
“I was more than willing to give him a chance,” said Spencer Rummage, the program Director. He said in almost 20 years there, he's never seen a student as determined as West.
“Many people that are in much better shape than he is many times don’t have the attitude and drive that he has so he’s done such a good job all through this program,” said Rummage.
“The first week of class we actually didn’t know that he was missing his leg, he didn’t tell any of us he wanted us to get to know him,” said Steven Hopkins, a classmate, and now close friend of West’s.
During the last few months, Hopkins said West's fighting spirit is an inspiration to the whole class. "I think he'll make an excellent police officer to anybody that wants to pick him up. I'd love to work beside of him," said Hopkins.
Despite pushing his physical boundaries, West is now running six miles most days a week, and those inspired by him say his biggest strength is within.
West's classmates also voted him to be their spokesperson at graduation on June 14th.