Oklahoma County sheriff's major to be honored for courage after life-changing injury

John Waldenville one of three to receive Jim Thorpe Courage Award on Saturday. Longtime law enforcement officer was shot in the face during robbery at Cattlemen's Steakhouse in 2011.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Modified: August 24, 2012 at 8:32 pm •  Published: August 25, 2012

In May, he walked in and completed the Jim Thorpe Courage Run.

“It's a combination of things — of my wife, my religious belief and the close friends I have,” he said. “Law enforcement is a brotherhood, and I've had many reach out, and also the public that's so supportive. And then the rest is on your shoulders. You gotta come in with the mindset that you're going to take that next step and do what you need to do.”

Two men, one a former dishwasher at the restaurant, face felony charges of robbery and shooting with intent to kill in the attack. Trial is set for December.

Waldenville said he wouldn't say he's angry with the men who ambushed him, but he's upset that they changed his life. The former officer said he's found a new priority in learning to love.

His wife said the two have never been closer.

“We have become absolute best friends,” she said. “He's much more compassionate toward other people. He was before, but not to this extent. And we always had pretty strong faith but this has really, really changed his.”

Around their wrists, John and Marjorie Waldenville wear black rubber bracelets bearing one word — courage. They picked them up at a brain injury support group, which they attend once a month.

Waldenville said courage is about the persistence to overcome despite anything.

“It means to face a challenge, to take that next step forward in the best way you can,” he said. “Courage is also — gosh — not giving up. It's just not giving up.”

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