A pastor in Salinas is sharing his testimony after nearly dying in 2015.
On Monday, he made an emotional return to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno to meet with the people who saved his life.
We spoke with the pastor and nurses who say his recovery is being called a “miracle.”
Pastor Rogelio Perez said he was not supposed to live. He says he fell into a creek near a Coalinga highway and broke his neck.
At best doctors and nurses thought he would be paralyzed if he survived, but he stayed strong his faith and now he’s alive and sharing his message of faith.
“Hello, Hello, How are you,” It’s a reunion the two thought they would never get the chance to see.
“His condition kept getting worse and worse and we kept seeing symptoms where there was less movement and for a time there.” said Lourdes Sanchez, an RN at Community Regional Medical Center. “We just didn’t think he would pull through.”
That’s because three years ago, Perez said, “I was supposed to die in one hour.”
Perez’ memory is still a little foggy.
But he says he was driving from Salinas to Hanford when he stopped on a highway near Coalinga and got out of his car.
“I walked a few steps but it was dark and I fell down in the creek,” Perez said.
With a broken neck and no one in sight, Perez said, “I lost all my movement from my body, the only thing I was moving was my eyes.”
He said he laid there for 14 hours and 45 minutes.
“When it happened the first thing I thought was to pray,” Perez said.
Leaning strong on his faith to pulled him through, Perez said an off duty officer found him.
“He saw me and he say oh you are a man of God and he said I said yes and then he grabbed me, put me in his arms and gave me a little water and called the ambulance,” he said.
Perez was flown from Coalinga to CRMC where he said he underwent multiple surgeries.
When all thought he was destine to be paralyzed, he leaned once again on his faith and five months later he took his first steps.
Now years later, he’s making his rounds, walking the hallways with his family, thanking those who helped save him.
“I decided to come back and say thanks to everybody and let them know that god is not dead, god is alive,” Perez said.
The pastor is back preaching and teaching. He said he never missed a service when he was recovering.
Perez said his oldest son is now a freshman at UC Davis and plans to become a doctor to help those like his father.
He also plans on writing a book.