- Officer Kevin Valencia returned to Orlando in February
- He’d spent months at The Sheppard Center in Atlanta
- Meghan Valencia describes him as minimally conscious
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After getting shot in the head on June 11, 2018 he was transported up to Atlanta, Georgia to receive specialized care to help him recover.
But a month ago, Meghan decided to bring him back to a facility closer to home.
“The Sheppard Center was really, really amazing and they did a lot with him. But Kevin had 11 surgeries up there, with each surgery he sort of took a step back. And the last month that he was up in Atlanta, he really wasn’t doing anything,” said Meghan.
“Before he would do thumbs up for us and things like that, then he was doing nothing. He wouldn’t move, any therapy that he had, he would not participate whatsoever in it. And in a lot of ways I just think he was getting homesick or depressed.”
So she brought him home and firmly believes it is helping. Meghan said he is lifting his arms again, taking deep breaths, and can even follow certain colors with his eye at times.
But Meghan says her husband finds his biggest success when their Kindergarten-aged son Kaleb is with him.
“If he says, ‘Daddy hold my hand.’ Kevin will open up his hand and close it… around Kaleb’s hand,” said Meghan. “That is actually really, really new, so it was really, really exciting to see him do that. I mean Kaleb started crying.”
The progress is not always consistent, with Meghan describing his state as minimally conscious. Some days he is more conscious than others. It’s an emotional journey, with good days and tough ones.
“This is definitely really hard, you know and, as time goes on, it gets a little harder,” said Meghan, crying. “It’s hard, I mean Monday was nine months.”
It is only three months away from the one-year mark of when Officer Kevin Valencia was shot while responding to a domestic violence call.
A few months ago, Orlando Police released the body camera video from Valencia and his partner as they responded to a man at an apartment complex who was holding four children hostage.
The shooter would take his own life, and the lives of the four children, after he shot Valencia. Meghan says faith, family and community have kept her going, but there are obviously dark days.
“Do you ever have to prepare yourself for the other outcome?” asked Spectrum News reporter Erin Murray.
“I mean, I do have my moments where I am kind of like, ‘What if this doesn’t go well?’ I try really, really hard not to think about that because, you know, it is kind of one of those things where he is still here,” said Meghan with tears in her eyes.
Still here and still fighting, Kevin Valencia has not given up. Meghan knows he is fighting to come back to his two little boys, to her, his family, and his community.
“There are times when he, like, looks at me and I swear he is all there, he just can’t say it,” said Meghan. “So I really believe that.”
Valencia is a patient at a local facility in Orange County where he goes through three to four hours of therapy a day. Meghan said the therapy is working really well right now, and she hopes it will lead to him getting well enough to come home.