Military might helps airman land on his feet
“The last plane, the last bullet, the last man, the last minute, we always fight.”
It’s that Tuskegee Airman spirit that’s helped Alfonso King persevere and learn to walk again after an auto accident on August 14, 2009.
“I was doing a speaking engagement in Traverse City. We were on a two lane highway when a young driver in the other lane decided to pass the truck in front of him. I saw him coming straight at me. As a Tuskegee Airman medic, I know how to react in a situation like this, but there was just nowhere for me to go. He crashed into me head on.”
Alfonso’s leg was trapped between the console and dash. He knew right away that his leg was broken. When medics arrived, he was too tall for them to pull him out of the car; he had to get out himself.
“What I didn’t know is that the break sent shock waves up my leg, shattering my hip. I went to a local hospital where my hip was reset and then I was transferred by ambulance to Detroit where I had surgery. That surgery didn’t stick and I had to have a second one. On top of that, I started to have issues with my back and neck.”
Seven months after his accident, Alfonso ended up at DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan.
“I was down for so long. I could barely walk and I didn’t have any strength. They did an excellent job.” Therapists worked with him in the pool, helped him with knee lifts, the exercise machines, bikes and weights.
“They were really open and honest about my recovery. And, I appreciated that. As a medical professional it really taught me about being straightforward and sincere with patients.”
Alfonso has a goal of getting back into photography, teaching tennis and dance and continuing his speaking engagements at schools, colleges and events to talk about Tuskegee Airmen.