Firefighter returns to work after losing leg

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) -- Robert Rendon was running a training exercise Tuesday afternoon, a normal drill. Normal is exactly what Rendon wants to get back to.

"What's going on, not really realizing like it was me involved," he said.

Rendon wasn’t sure he would survive after being thrown off his motorcycle when a pick-up truck collided with him on Feb. 14. His injuries required surgery resulting in a below-the-knee amputation of his right leg.

"Only time I thought I wasn't going to have a normal life was during the impact. I thought I was dying," he said.

While he lost his leg that day, he never lost hope. Seven months after the accident, Rendon returned to the force more determined than ever.

"I never had any doubt I would get back here,” said Rendon. “You face setbacks in your life but you can’t let that hold you back."

To come back, he had to pass all of the physical tests and be able to do exactly what he could do before the accident. He has two separate prosthetics, one for everyday use and one for work. He practices switching them, but it's something he is getting used to.

"Trying to get into place when the alarm goes off and trying to keep up with the guys, and switch into my prosthetic leg is my biggest challenge," he said.

He said the road to recovery wasn't easy, but the fire department and his family have been there every step of the way, even if those steps, took some getting used to at first.

"We are all a family here, and for the department to see me get back to work, I think was a great uplifting thing for everyone," said Rendon.

Rendon still has a goal of becoming an operations lieutenant, and while he missed the test this spring, he said he is ready for the next one.

As for motorcycles, Rendon plans to keep riding. In fact, he went for his first ride last week, proving he isn't going to let anything stop him from living a full life.

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