ROSE HILL, Kan. Rose Hill Police Officer Joel Sibley is home recovering from a recent stroke, fighting to get back to work for his community. His fiance says Sibley's health setback is a situation that could have been worse.
When the stroke happened last month, Sibley, only 33, thought he was having a migraine. It wasn't that simple. His fiance, Brittni Timms says Sibley has a long road ahead before he can return to work, but for now, she's just happy to have him home.
Sibley was in the ICU at the hospital for nearly three weeks. For much of that time, he couldn't speak.
"A lot of the times it was really scary just because Joel, he's my rock, like he is the man in the family," Timms says.
She says doctors found that a blood clot caused Sibley's stroke. The answer helped explain the situation that could have killed him.
The Center for Disease Control reports more than 140,000 people per year die from stroke. Timms is thankful her fiance wasn't part of that statistic.
"I'm really thankful because I wasn't ready," she says. "I know he wasn't ready, but I really wasn't ready for him to not be here anymore."
With just 10 officers on the Rose Hill Police Department. Rose Hill Police Lt. Taylor Pariler says fellow officers don't mind picking up the slack. Like Timms, they're thankful Sibley survived and say he's part of their family.
"It's a little bit of a strain on us as a smaller agency to cover those spots, but it's nothing that we are frustrated about," Parliler says. "We just miss his presence and his involvement."
Sibley's family set up a GoFundMe page to help with his medical expenses. You can visit that page here: Police Officer Joel Sibley Medical Fund.