MILWAUKEE -- Frank Vrtochnick, the Milwaukee Police Officer struck and nearly killed by a car on Christmas Eve, was one of several officers honored during Milwaukee Police Department's Police/Citizen Merit Awards Ceremony Tuesday night, May 15th. FOX6 News had the exclusive opportunity to speak with Vrtochnick Tuesday night, for the first time since he nearly lost his life.
Some of law enforcement bravest walked across a stage in Milwaukee Tuesday evening, May 15th to be honored, but Milwaukee Police Officer Frank Vrtochnick's achievement did not allow him to walk across that stage to receive his award.
On Christmas Eve, FOX6 News was along for the ride as police squads helped transport Vrtochnick to the hospital. Vrtochnick and another officer were struck by a 19-year-old driver, who fled the scene. Vrtochnick spent about a month in the hospital following the incident.
Vrtochnick spoke with FOX6 News for the first time since the Christmas Eve incident on Tuesday night. "It's amazing that I'm at this point right now. I remember coming into roll call that afternoon for work, and basically, after that, I remember waking up in intensive care," Vrtochnick said.
Vrtochnick mentioned the lingering effects of the impact, and says there are still a few surgeries left in his recovery process. Vrtochnick suffered injuries to his leg, elbow and jaw - damage described as potentially life-long disabilities, dwarfed by his larger-than-life determination.
"Rehabilitating to the best of my ability to get back to the police department," Vrtochnick said.
Vrtochnick credits his parents and his extended family of law enforcement for his recovery. "All the support they've shown through the event and up to the event tonight, it's been unbelievable," Vrtochnick said.
Vrtochnick took home a purple star at Tuesday night's awards ceremony for "inspiring the entire community and the Milwaukee Police family to believe in the power of the human spirit to heal."