Athens officer back on duty four years after stabbing

by: Carol Sbarge Updated:

ATHENS, Ga.,None - Courtney Gale is back at work at the Athens Clark County Police Department after she was nearly killed more than four years ago at her off-duty job.

It was Dec. 11, 2007 when a man stabbed Gale repeatedly while she worked an off-duty job at an Athens Kroger store. She was a sergeant at the time of the tragic incident, which left her in critical condition.  

“The first year was the most difficult, going through painful physical therapy.  But I’m beyond that,” Gale told Channel 2’s Carol Sbarge.  “I train now at the gym.  My thing now is a healthy way of living.”

A dear colleague, Joseph Lumpkin, calls her a “miracle child.”

“No disrespect.  She came as close to leaving us as anyone could come,” Lumpkin said.

But despite her tough journey, Gale said her diligence paid off, as she has returned to the job that she loves.

“You know I watch the news every day and I’m like, ‘Wow’, and I really tried to stay in touch with everybody” Gale told Sbarge.

Gale said the support of her co-workers, as well as the community has enabled her to persevere.  They raised money to help her and years later, Gale’s doctor has cleared her to resume on the force.  But Gale wants to start in a civilian role doing training first.     

“Patience is the hardest lesson for me to learn,” Gale said.  “I think I drive the chief nuts at times, but it’s just keeping my eyes focused on the goals and I really want to help, and as common as you hear that saying I truly mean it.”

“To watch her once she opened her eyes, was conscious again, you could just see that she was a fighter and she was going to whip this, Lumpkin said.