BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - To understand how far Baton Rouge Police Officer Rickey Faust has come, you have to know where he's been. "It's a big change when you can't move like you want," said Faust.
On March 21, Faust was in the eastbound lane of I-12 headed to a call, when a car cut into his lane, forcing Faust to swerve and crash into a concrete barrier. Faust left the scene with broken ribs and severe injuries to his spine. His family says doctors didn't think he'd ever be able to breathe on his own again, but Faust is defying the odds.
"I'm going to keep working. I will never give up or lay down to this," Faust said. "It's just a step in life and this too shall pass. I shall be back."
After five months at a rehab facility in Texas, Faust now has daily therapy sessions at a rehabilitation hospital in Baton Rouge. He says working out is now his full-time job. "When I come through that door, I put my hard hat on. I'm going to work," Faust said. "I don't come here to play and goof off. I give 110 percent. I push myself to the limit every day."
But now that Faust is back in his hometown, he needs help getting around. Right now, Faust and his family rely on public transportation because it's wheelchair accessible. Behind the Line, a family support group for law enforcement officers, is raising money to change that. "Last Sunday, they had to pay $50 to just go to church and that shouldn't be," said Rendy Richard, president of Behind the Line. "They need a van. They need to be able to do things as a family."
Richard says when someone wearing the badge is in need, it's felt by everyone. "There's family behind the badge and they're just as important as the officers that serve on the street," Richard said. "We need to make sure the family is taken care of."
Richard says their hope is to give his family a fresh start on a new normal. "It's not the same life, but it's definitely going to be the start of a new life," he said.
Faust aims to teach others to value every moment. "Love every day and treat every day like it's your last day," Faust said. "Don't take anything for gr anted because you could lose it in the blink of an eye."
Richard also says the organization has plans to help Faust and his family move into a handicap accessible home. Their home was damaged during the August 2016 flood and was undergoing repairs when Faust was hurt. The Fausts currently live in an apartment.
A Christmas of Hope, a benefit for Faust, will be held on Sunday, December 3 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the BRPD headquarters, located at 9000 Airline Highway. Christmas ornaments will be available for $5. Additional ornaments can be purchased on Back the Blue of Baton Rouge's Facebook page.
All proceeds will go towards the purchase of a van for Faust.