By Chelsea Gorrow
MAY 31, 2017
“I’m just thankful; very, very thankful that God sent someone like Shawn to me and put him in my life as my friend,” Grotzky said Tuesday. “I’m thankful for people like Tom and (Eugene) Catholic Worker, and all of Eugene police. … I am so thankful for Shawn and for all of the other officers he’s brought to me, introduced me to. They’ve changed my whole life and my outlook on city cops 100,000 percent.”
Officer Shawn Trotter, second from right, and Dr. Daran deCalesta of Rainbow Optics, second from left, were honored at the Eugene Police Department's annual awards by Chief Pete Kerns, left, for helping homeless veteran Dean Grotzky get back on his feet after a mugging last August. (Submitted photo)When a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps found himself homeless and the victim of a pickpocket late last August, a local restaurant owner, an optometrist and a Eugene police officer came together to help.
The veteran, Dean Grotzky, 53, had been living on the streets of Eugene since March 2016 after losing his job as a commercial truck driver.
Grotzky said he suffers from fibromyalgia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, arthritis and post-traumatic stress disorder. The PTSD stems both from childhood and six years in the Marines in the 1980s, he said.
When he couldn’t pass a Department of Transportation physical last year, he said, he lost his job.
Grotzky then lost his housing.
His first night on the streets last March, he recalled, was cold. “I was in pain. I didn’t have any of my meds, so I was in a lot of pain. I was a big grown man hiding in the corner crying in pain. It was a living hell.”
But he wasn’t scared, Grotzky added.
“I’ve never been scared. I don’t get scared of anything. Life’s too short to be scared.”
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