NS. LOUIS (KMOV.com) — A St. Louis police officer is thankful to be back to celebrate a Thanksgiving tradition after a lengthy battle with COVID-19.
Motorcycle cop Dave Tenorio helps lead many of the city parades. Last year, he was forced to watch the Thanksgiving Parade from the sidelines.
“I know that the higher power has brought me here today,” said Tenorio. “I know there’s a reason I’m still here.”
Doctors and nurses from St. Luke’s Hospital lined up outside to encourage St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officer Dave Tenorio as he left after a lengthy battle with COVID-19.
Tenorio was diagnosed with COVID-19 in April 2020. He spent weeks at St Luke’s Hospital, where doctors said he was so sick they had to put Tenorio on a ventilator the day he arrived. Doctors said the ventilator stopped working, so they used an ECMO machine, short for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Doctors considered the machine a last resort.
“It kept him alive long enough for his body to heal his lungs,” said cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Jeremy Leidenfrost on the day Tenorio was fired.
Last November, the police gave Tenorio permission to get back on his motorcycle. Tenorio said one of the first places he wanted to go was the hospital to thank the doctors and nurses who helped him.
“That was really one of the most special days for me,” recalls Tenorio. “I wanted them to see that things didn’t always end badly.”
For Tenorio, this Thanksgiving parade marks a milestone in his recovery. He praised the many people who stopped him along the parade route for helping him drive home what matters most.
“People don’t realize how much you need love and support from other people, not just your friends and family, but also strangers,” Tenorio said. “I’m just so extremely, extremely grateful to everyone who helped me get back to where I am.”
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