LINCOLN, Neb. — A former Lincoln police officer is forging relationships with schoolchildren as he rebuilds his life after being paralyzed.
Jerome Blowers, 52, was hired in January as an entrance monitor at Kooser Elementary. This is his first job since a flip into an above-ground pool in 2014 left him paralyzed nearly everywhere except his arms and hands. The accident forced him to retire as a police officer after 22 years, the Lincoln Journal Star reported .
“It’s been a journey the last years,” he said. “I didn’t know exactly where I’d be.”
Blowers is establishing relationships with children after finding that he relates to young people and enjoys spending time with them. He also spent much of his time in law enforcement as an investigator in the family crimes unit and as a school resource officer. As an investigator, Blowers worked on child abuse cases, interviewing children and coordinating with prosecutors so that his investigations wouldn’t re-victimize the children.
“That’s where I realized I had a definite passion for children,” he said.
Teachers said they seek out Blowers to help students with math and social skills or just to be a friend. He said he instills positivity in children, especially ones who face similar disability-related challenges as he does.
“When I hire I look for people who can build relationships,” said Ann Jablonski, the school’s principal. “I wanted someone warm and welcoming — and his law enforcement experience just an extra plus. He’s been a great fit because he instantly gets to know families and who they are.”
Blowers is also mentoring patients with spinal cord injuries.
“It’s good to know I’m in the game, I’m still a productive part of society, a productive citizen of Lincoln, that just because you have a tragedy or illness you still have a lot to offer,” he said.
Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com