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Community writes 'notes of love' in future home of injured APD officer

Austin police officer Tammy Barrett is paralyzed from the waist down following an ATV accident last year.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin Police Department officer Tammy Barrett continues to recover from an ATV accident that nearly took her life. 

She is now paraplegic and moves with a wheelchair.

But thanks to non-profit Operation Finally Home, she is getting a new, wheelchair-accessible home.

The organization broke ground on the home two months ago. They are making progress and on Wednesday, they invited the community to come out and leave love notes on the studs of Barrett’s home.

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"My precious sister Tammy – be strong and courageous,” Barrett’s pastor Kim Ethridge, of Haynie Chapel United Methodist Church in Del Valle, read from her note. “For your Father is with you always."

Ethridge asked Barrett how she felt, physically.

“On a scale of one to 10,” Barrett said, “I told her it's about a hundred.”

Barrett said she would like to say there is a chance she will walk again, be positive and be that optimistic person, “but the reality…is I'll never walk again."

Hundreds of Austin police officers stopped by and wrote encouraging messages.

Among them was Lieutenant Robin Henderson.

"Forever awesome,” she read from her message, “forever Austin PD. Forever a hero."

Lt. Henderson said watching the process, watching the building go up, stands as symbolism for Barrett’s “rebuilding of her morale and her spirit.”

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Operation Finally Home partnered with Henley Homes, Inc. and Austin Cops for Charities to get the home built, mortgage-free.

“We've been able to get this home completely donated,” said Operation Finally Home Executive Director Rusty Carroll. “Whether it be through product and service donation, through the building community, as well as financial donations."

Barrett said after working in law enforcement for years, “and after doing it for so long, you get a little jaded…So, through this process and through this home…I've learned there are people that will do things from their heart."

“I'm blessed,” she added. “I'm going to keep moving forward.”


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