EUGENE, Ore. — Lane County Sheriff’s Deputy Drew Wattier made his first public appearance since a crash in Mexico critically injured him and his wife, Michelle. For family and friends, although the whole situation has been tough, the community support for Drew and Michelle has been touching.
The crowd of four hundred runners didn’t surprise Drew’s mother Andrea Wattier. “It’s overwhelming, it’s overwhelming and it’s just amazing how many friends they have and people paying it forward it’s wonderful, I’m just so happy,” said Wattier.
Nor did it surprise Drew’s high school soccer coach, Steve Morelock. “Drew for one thing is one of the most loyal guys that we ever had, so I’m not surprised there’s a good turnout today because that’s the way he would do it, he would be here for me for sure,” said Morelock.
Out of the four hundred runners, runner 284 was the one who got everyone’s attention. “Andrew is gonna make an appearance and hopefully he’ll be up to us pushing him on the walk and we’re looking forward to that, maybe taking him to lunch afterwards,” said Wattier.
Wearing his number, the same number he used to radio in calls while working as a Lane County Sheriff’s Deputy, Drew Wattier not only was up to being wheeled through the race, but even walked across the finish line.
Drew’s mother thinks support from friends and family is what’s helping both him and Michelle heal. “I think that’s what’s helped them get through, especially Drew knowing seeing it everyday, hearing people come and talk to him and texting him and coming to visit it’s been amazing, it’s been a real great healing experience for them both,” said Wattier.
She said Michelle was not at the race because of a surgery she had on Thursday, but that she’s staying strong. Drew visited with friends at the jail Friday and hopes to return to the department in some capacity once he’s healed.