In light of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the State of California wants to remind disabled persons they are needed in the work force.
During a job fair held in Sacramento Wednesday, Officer Mike Mitchell with the California Highway Patrol shared his story with potential applicants.
While Mitchell may appear like a typical officer at first glance, he is embracing a challenge you can’t see.
In 2011, Mitchell was involved in a high speed chase, and his vehicle crashed.
The accident left his leg severely wounded and with little hope of saving it.
"We said if you can not repair it, I would rather have an amputation and put a prosthetic. I want to be able to return to work," Mitchell said.
Mitchell had a computerized prosthetic leg inserted and spent months in intensive rehab.
"Being able to shoot, being able to run, being able to drive all over again, just trying to relearn the job all over again," said Mitchell. "You basically almost lose your job and you have to prove that you can do it again."
He proved he could do the job.
Two years ago, Mitchell returned to full duty.
"You can sit in a chair and think to yourself, 'I have a disability and I feel bad for myself or you can say you know what, it does not matter which disability I have. I want this job or I want to be able to do that.' You have to have that mindset and go out there and do it every single day."
It is that message that Mitchell shared during Wednesday's career fair to inspire others.
As of June 2014, the state of California has employed more than 21,000 persons with disabilities.
That group represents 10.1% of the states civil service work force.