Odessa Man With Dreams To Be An Officer Needs Prosthetic Leg

Odessa Man With Dreams To Be An Officer Needs Prosthetic Leg

Anum Valliani

NewsWest 9

ODESSA -How far are you willing to go to achieve your dream? For one Odessa man,  who always wanted to become an officer, losing a limb was the start of his journey.

Ever since Lupe Marquez was 13, he wanted to become a policeman, but he couldn't exactly chase after it because of the tumor in his knee.

Marquez said it was a benign condition, but he still had to get chemo surgery, and metal rods replacing some of the bone in his knee. "It had a bunch of limitations to preserve the actual life of the knee to make it last longer," he said.

That included no contact sports, or high physical activity- basically anything required by any police academy.

Then in 2012, a routine checkup led to something unexpected. Marquez said he was only going to renew a couple of parts that had gotten worn out. A few months later, he got a tooth infection, and it spread to that metal rod ultimately infecting it.

That's when Marquez was presented with several heavy options. With the encouragement of his wife, he decided the best thing to do would be to get rid of the problem once and for all.

"I lost my leg, but I've gained so much more in return. I'm able to pursue my dream of being an officer, I'm able to do a bunch of activities, I'm able to work out like I want to," he said.

Marquez received his first prosthetic leg in March, and since then, he feels he's one step closer to his goal. Marquez has been training 3 days a week for about 6 weeks now across gyms in Odessa. His trainer, who's also a police officer, told NewsWest 9, he had never worked with anyone with Marquez's condition, but he was up for the challenge. What he didn't expect was to be inspired by the man.

"What I like about him, admire about him is his spirit, his determination and commitment," Mauro Matai said. "You know he wants it, he really wants to do it. He's not one of those guys, 'Hey, feel sorry for me because -' No! He comes in and he does work every single day.

The first step was losing weight, and Marquez already shed 11 pounds in 4 weeks. But now he needs to take it up a notch, and the only thing holding him back is the prosthetic.

Matai said it's the only barrier keeping him from passing a mandatory occupational physical therapy test. According to Corporal Steve LeSueur the test is made up of challenges consisting of jumping over a wall, crawling in a low space, carrying 150 pound dummy, etc. "It's not just that, when they become an officer they have to be able to perform the day to day tasks, like being able to defend themselves, and shooting." He added there is no discrimination for people with disabilities as long as they meet those criteria.

"He still runs, but it hurts him and he's not as fast as he could be with a different leg he can be fast and make the time and pass the first phase," Matai explained.

So Marquez is asking for help in getting a new limb. The Genium leg is a top of the line prosthetic with an approximately $70,000 price tag. And it could make all the difference. Still Marquez is optimistic about whatever happens.

"It doesn't matter what your current situation is. Everything is what you make out of it. You can pursue your dreams no matter if you're physically disabled or not. No matter what you should always pursue your dreams, and that's what i'm hoping to do if I get my leg," he said.

"That's the type of people we want to attract. We need more Lupe's man," Marquez said.

Marquez hopes to apply to be an officer by this time next year. If you want to donate to his cause go to www.youcaring.com and search his name, Lupe Marquez.