TOLLAND-- Wednesday, May 20 is National Trauma Survivors Day, an initiative geared to draw inspiration and support for survivors of traumatic injuries and to elicit support for their caregivers.
In Tolland, former East Hartford Police Officer Todd Lentocha is helping to amplify the message of trauma survivors.
Lentocha, a seven-year veteran of the East Hartford force, had his career cut short in January 2012 when an out-of-control driver slammed into his cruiser on Route 2. He was working a burglary case when the incident happened.
Lentocha ended up in a coma for a month and suffered, among other things, a depressed skull fracture. With the help of the neurosurgical team at Hartford Hospital, Lentocha survived, but he is legally blind.
However, he continues to count his blessings. "I'm still around enjoying my children," the father of three said. "Everybody goes through bad things in their lives, some more serious than others," Lentocha said. "The question is what are you going to do about it. For me it's all about staying positive for my family."
Lentocha has recently written a book titled, "Officer Down, Man Up," which he hopes will enlighten others who are effected by traumatic injury.
"What is important for people to know is that serious trauma in your life isn't the end of your life," he added.
Dr. Inam Kureshi, director of Neurosurgery at Hartford Hospital and Lentocha's doctor, said, "He had such a severe injury that we didn't expect him to survive, much less if he did survive for him to have the function that he enjoys. It is these rare miracles that keep us doing the best we can everyday."
Letocha is busy promoting his book and also is involved with a first responders group called "In the Line of Duty".