Police officer paralyzed in tornado a hero to wife

The Associated Press
November 30, 2002

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Keith Jordan heard the twister coming just minutes before it picked up his
mobile home and slammed it into the ground in pieces.

The 28-year-old police officer pulled his wife Robyn off the bed, laid on
top of her and pulled the mattress over both of them. The tornado rolled
through the community of Ewell near Daleville shortly after midnight on Nov.
24, 2001.

"He held on to me the entire time and when we got to the hospital all I
could say was, 'He's my hero,'" Robyn Jordan told The Dothan Eagle for a
recent story.

The twister moved the home 10 feet from its foundation and then flipped it
over, slamming the 6-5 Keith Jordan's body into a sturdy wooden chair in the
room. The impact broke his back, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.

"It was a miracle we weren't dead," he said.

Police found the Jordans on top of the rubble. The house was split in two
and Keith Jordan was lying between the two sections.

Keith Jordan accepted the challenge of living with his disability head on.

Jordan wanted a place that would take aggressive action with his recovery
and he went to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, a catastrophic care hospital
that specializes in spinal cord and other injuries.

"I thought, we are going to be OK and we'll get through this," Mrs. Jordan
said of her husband's injury. "I never had a doubt in my mind because of the
kind of person Keith is - I knew he would be fine."

The couple left for the Shepherd Center on Dec. 4 last year and stayed
through the end of January. At the center, Jordan learned to live his life
in a wheelchair. He learned to drive a hand-controlled car, went shopping,
went out to dinner and went on a hunting trip.

"It's like basic training for paralyzed people," he said.

Jordan recently had surgery to ease a problem with muscle spasms, which made
transferring from his wheelchair dangerous.

"I've almost fallen out of that chair twice," he said.

Two of the biggest adjustments for Jordan have been changing jobs within the
police department and not being able to do certain tasks around the house.

Before the accident, the sergeant was a member of the department's drug
enforcement tactical team. He scouted out the perimeter of potentially
dangerous situations and reported back to other officers.

He's now an intelligence analyst, reviewing and sending correspondence
relating to homeland security and oversees files on felony cases as well as
investigating Internet fraud cases.

"I still am making a difference and I'm part of the team, but just the
boring part of the team," he said.

A year after the accident, Mrs. Jordan still describes her husband her hero.

"He's a remarkable man," she said.

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