On a Friday the thirteenth in April 1956, a Portland, Oregon, policeman named Jess Roe slammed his motorcycle into a moving...

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IN THE LINE OF DUTY: The Story of Two Brave Men

On a Friday the thirteenth in April 1956, a Portland, Oregon, policeman named Jess Roe slammed his motorcycle into a moving freight car--and paralyzed his legs for life. The next 24 years were marked by recovery, rehabilitation, and quiet rededication to God as a born-again Christian. At first Jess allowed his muscles and his spirit to deteriorate in a wheelchair, as wife, friends, and children waited on him hand and foot. Then his doctor challenged him to seek rehabilitative therapy; enter a dogged but devoted therapist, who hounded him to improve his physical capabilities and gave him back his self-sufficiency. From there it's high flying for Jess as the builder (literally, in a hand-controlled bulldozer) and financier of a housing development; member of the local planning commission; municipal judge; and eventually farmer, a career cut short only by advancing years and two massive heart attacks. Through it all, wife Jeanne proves a brick; but it's son Mike who eventually taps the tears. A disillusioned survivor of the Vietnam conflict (he wanted to win), he weathers an unhappy marriage and divorce, then follows in his father's footsteps on the Portland police force--even taking the same badge number, though it proves no luckier for him than for his father. A drunk driver's car lands him in a coma for three months; and when he emerges the brain damage is so severe that, even five years later, he can barely walk unassisted, and his memory lapses from moment to moment. But his parents have come through the storms already--the why toe's and the if-onlys--so that they view handicaps not as burdens ""but as opportunities to share Christ with others."" A nicely felt and honestly shared tale.

Pub Date: July 4, 1980

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1980