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Wounded trooper salutes his rescuer page 3
Trooper shot in I-95 struggle meets the man who saved his life.

 Virginia State Police Trooper Mike Hamer (background, left) thanks Mason Michael O'Roark, an employee at the Peumansend Creek Regional Jail in Caroline County, for the lifesaving skills he offered after Hamer was shot.
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Date published: 1/27/2012

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But he said he's feeling better and should return to work sometime in March.

"The doctors say everything looks good right now," he said. "I start physical therapy next week, so I'm back on the road to recovery."

His patrol car had to be scrapped because there was so much blood inside and a bullet hole in the roof, Hamer said.

Although O'Roark wasn't physically injured, he did struggle mentally afterward.

"I started having bad dreams about getting shot in the head," he said.

He didn't tell anyone, not even his mother, until about two weeks later. When she found out, she made a call to her sister, who had given him the gray sweater a few Christmases ago.

She sent him a new one.

O'Roark said he was truly caught off guard by the recognition from his co-workers Thursday.

"The duty of someone from the correctional profession does not conclude at the end of the day," said jail Superintendent Sandra Thacker. "We are always on duty to render public assistance when the need arises."

But the best reward was the thanks he got from Hamer.

O'Roark told the trooper that he had applied to the Virginia State Police in September, but didn't take the test because he couldn't afford a three-piece suit.

Hamer encouraged him to apply again--and use him as a reference.

Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419
Email: psmith@fredericksburg.com


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