Saturday will be a big day for Bambi Trotter of the Trophy Club: the day she’s welcomed home; less than three months after a major car crash changed her life.
The kindergarten teacher was driving on Highway 114 near Texas Motor Speedway with her 20 month-old son in tow -- her last memory before the accident in early August.
"I was driving down 114 and another car was coming my direction, and he swerved for a reason... we don't know why,” said Trotter. The oncoming car then struck her. "My car actually flipped,” she said.
The next 30 days or so were a blur -- her son was physically fine, but she sustained serious injuries, including compound fractures in one leg, her other foot more or less crushed, a cracked vertebrae, a broken pelvis and traumatic brain injuries.
She underwent four surgeries at multiple hospitals during which time her husband Richi recalls her being unable to even speak.
"It was extremely scary, and it's out of your control,” said Richi Trotter, who took the season off from assistant coaching the Byron Nelson High School football team to help care for his wife.
Richi said there were times during the first several weeks where he would have traded anything just for his wife to get to the point where she could be an active mother again, but he never doubted that the family would get through it.
The latest news from around North Texas.
"Being a coach for a living, you preach to your kids daily that you have to deal with adversity. You have to go one of two ways and the second way's really not an option,” he said.
Once Bambi Trotter started becoming aware of herself again, she said just getting to “well enough” wasn’t nearly enough.
"When I started writing, my handwriting looked like a 3-year-old's and I was like, 'Um, that's not OK with me. I teach kindergarten, I know how to write,’” she said.
So the family that’s spent their careers as educators and motivators developed a motto of “1 percent."
"To improve 1 percent every day, and as time went on I was like, that's not enough. I pushed myself," Trotter said.
Richi said from that point, the recovery was miraculous. Within a short time, his wife had been transferred to the Centre for Neuro Skills Career and Employment in Irving to start physical therapy; a place where she said she gained a whole new perspective seeing the extent of damage brain trauma can do.
Now she’s at the point where she’s finally far enough along to go home. For the first time since her accident, Bambi Trotter will return home Saturday, and she’ll return to open arms.
Friends and community members at the school where she teaches, Bridlewood Elementary in Flower Mound, have prepared a benefit festival to welcome her home.
For several hours Saturday, they’ll have food, games, a silent auction with some big donated items, and most of all, they’ll come together with the Trotter family who they’ve prayed for, for months.
Between well-wishes on Facebook and decorating the area of town with green ribbons to show support, the family says the community out-pouring has been overwhelming.
"You know, it's remarkable,” Richi Trotter said. "Extremely blessed."
Bambi believes it’s those prayers and God that helped her to recover so quickly and to, what she considers, 98 percent at this point, and she doesn’t plan to stop there.
"It's taken an intense amount of determination and drive for me to push myself that hard but if I don't, then what I'm going to be left with is mediocre and that's not okay with me,” she said.
The event Saturday is open to the public with a $10 entry donated to Bambi Trotter’s recovery.
She said she most looks forward to seeing her former students and the new group of kindergartners assigned to her that she hopes to be teaching by January.