Florida Stories

Diana Lopes, Ocoee

(Nominated by Sally Trant)
Ocoee Community Center
February 19, 2011

Air Force Reservist Senior Airman Diane Lopes was one week away from achieving her childhood dream of becoming a police patrol officer when she was called to Iraq. In less than a month, she was struck by enemy shrapnel. Following her injuries it was unclear if she would be able to walk, but she still wanted to be a police officer. Despite being wheelchair-bound at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, she didn’t even consider a Plan B.  Slowly, she progressed from a wheelchair to a walker to a cane, until she could finally walk unassisted a year later. After a nearly three-year delay, she reported for work at the Tampa Police Department on a light-duty job until she feels ready to be a patrol officer. Diane says “I’ve learned not to put time limits on myself. Someone told me, you’ve got to let yourself heal. Give yourself a break.”