A Warner Robins firefighter is back on the job after spending more than nine months recovering from a serious motorcycle accident.
Philip Buckner has been a firefighter since 2001. He came to the Warner Robins Fire Department 2 years ago.
In August of 2016, he was in a serious motorcycle accident after a box truck pulled out in front of him near I-75 on Watson Boulevard.
“On scene I remember I tried to stand up and I knew right then my leg was broken,” Buckner said.
It also cut off blood flow to his foot. Days later, doctors amputated his lower leg about halfway up his right shin.
More than nine months after surgery, he's back on the job.
He explained why he wanted to come back.
“The brotherhood, it's what I've wanted to do for a long time, it's what makes me happy,” he said. Buckner also said he loves being a firefighter.
And now, the first responders on the scene of his accident are a special memory for him.
Peach County deputies Daryl Smallwood and Patrick Sondron were the first to respond the night of his accident.
Three months later, they were shot to death in a shootout in a Byron neighborhood.
“I had known Sondron for 13 years and I still remember hearing him when he walked up, he recognized me right away. He was like, 'man what did you do?!' And he just changed the whole feel of everything and just made it so much easier,” Buckner said.
For Buckner's partners in uniform, he's a source of inspiration.
“Just motivates everybody. If anyone's feeling down about something, you know look at what he's done, accomplished, in the short amount of time he has after the accident,” Mike Fendely said.
Buckner says he's had to learn new ways to climb ladders and rescue people, but he knows he's lucky to be alive and able to work. He still goes to physical therapy two days a week.
“Out of all the unfortunate things that could happen, I got the best of it,” he said.
He’s back to saving lives after others saved his.
Buckner says he wanted to thank the community for their support the last few months. A local company in Warner Robins made him a specialized boot that's easier to get his foot into. He also wanted to thank all his fellow firefighters that came to support him and donated sick time while he was out.
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