KCPD officer gives back at Care Team event years after crash

Posted at 5:38 PM, May 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-08 19:33:11-04

A group of retired and current police officers that help out fellow officers in times of need gathered for its annual fundraiser on Monday.

The event for the KCPD Care Team was held at Shoal Creek Golf Course.

Officer Josh Zeplin knows firsthand the impact the group can have on one's life.

In July 2010, Zeplin was critically injured in a crash that also claimed his wife's life.

"The last thing I remember was the night before driving up to Omaha," he told 41 Action News. "I don't remember anything until I woke up in the hospital and doctors telling me she was gone."

While he was recovering and getting treatment for his injuries, Zeplin said the Care Team stepped in to assist his family.

"They helped my family with everything as far as logistics, getting around, traveling, bills, anything they needed," he explained. "Not having to worry about rent, car payments, where my parents are going to stay, where we're going to get food, all this other stuff."

After going through such a traumatic car accident, Zeplin said the help from the Care Team went a long way.

"It was a very calming sense of ease for not only myself but also my family coming into town," he explained. "I wouldn't be where I'm at right now without them I can guarantee you."

Zeplin's mother traveled down from Nebraska to help at Monday's fundraiser.

She recalled the first time she met the group following her son's accident.

"When we got here it was more like a relief and a weight off of our shoulders," Annette Zeplin explained. "They kind of just stepped in, took over and became a family."

After seeing the support from police, she said she understood the strong bond between officers even more.

"All we had to do was focus on his care and maintaining ourselves. They took care of everything else," Annette explained. "You hope that you never have to be in this situation, but if you're ever in that situation it's the best thing to know that you have this behind you."

Now serving as a volunteer for the Care Team, Josh Zeplin hoped he could help out fellow officers the same way the group helped him nearly seven years ago.

"The steps I've made since then, the places I've gone and the people I've met, it's almost like a new outlook and sense of appreciation for everything you do," he said. "You can't ever say thank you or repay it enough, but you can do so by pushing it forward and by helping your family."

Organizers for the annual golf fundraiser hoped to raise around $30,000 this year.

Monday's tournament marked the 17th year for the event.