John Burtis

Update posted by John Burtis On Sep 23, 2015

I have always served my community, beginning as a firefighter when I was 17 in Port Crane, NY. Later, I left school in Boston and traveled to Los Angeles, joined the police department, a dream job, especially coming from a law enforcement family, I was happy to serve. However, after three years on the force, I was horrifically injured in an accident. Eight months later, on my first day back to work, I was severely injured again. I retired at 24. I have had sixteen surgeries, numerous concussions, and I have a metal neck, my second cervical fusion, a metal right shoulder, and a metal right ankle. Things, despite these minor difficulties, which my wife and I overcame, were going well until an overlooked piece of paper resulted in a large problem with the IRS. Then, when things were darkest, my teeth began to fall apart. And that is why I am asking for the kindness of strangers; people I never hesitated to serve as a firefighter, as a soldier, and as a cop. I have made sacrifices: I have sold my guns, artwork, fire gear, fire helmets, even the trumpet my grandmother gave me when I was eleven. Every nickel I receive will go into fixing my teeth. I am thanking you in advance for your kindness. If you would like to picture me, imagine these two vignettes: pulling a hose line into the main aisle of a raging supermarket fire at 3 am and then being forced back, step by step, as the flames exploded cans on the shelves; the day I delivered a very premature baby in a shabby apartment and gave it puffs of live giving breath through a piece of gauze until the firefighters arrived, then I drove to the hospital to take the little tyke's death report and cried as I wrote it out in a side room off a busy hallway at UCLA Med. This is who I am, and for the first time in my life, I am asking for your help.

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John Burtis

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