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Surviving officer in Key West crash shares story of recovery, inspiration from Ofc. Braswell

Posted at 10:55 PM, Apr 21, 2017

Bernenda Marc has a newfound burden she's honored to carry.

"(My) law enforcement career has changed since that accident for me and it's going to make me stronger than I've ever been," Marc, 25, says. "I'm going to carry her on and I'm going to make her proud."

Bernenda was riding on a scooter in Key West two weekends ago with her friend and mentor, Christine Braswell, when they were hit by a turning car. She doesn’t remember the accident.

"To hear that she's gone and to lay (in the hospital) and to see that I'm alive. The first question I asked was why me?" Bernenda questioned.

She recalls their first meeting. Christine was her drill instructor.

"I was afraid of her. I was also motivated by her, she was like a big sister to me," Bernenda says.

Eventually, they would work the same patrol shift. The sisterhood only growing stronger, Christine pushing Bernenda to follow in her footsteps, with words like these:

"You're going to be on the SWAT team, you're going to be a sniper, you're going to do great things," she says, recalling the words Christine said to Bernenda.  "I'm still shocked she chose me to say those things to and to be so close because she doesn't get close to a lot of people."

When Brenenda woke up in the hospital to face her doctor she tapped into Christine's toughness. Her humility.

"I said I'm a soldier and I'm a police officer. I'm not going to surgery. And he said, would you rather die or would you rather save your country? And I was like I would rather serve my country," Bernenda says.

She defied the odds, and was released from the hospital sooner than doctors expected. Bernenda hopes to defy the odds again, like Christine did when she became the county’s only female sniper.

I asked, "Do you want to be the next female sniper in Palm beach county?"

"Yes. Definitely," Marc replied. "I would be honored. I wish she would still be there with me to be able to train me and to go with me through that path but I'm pretty sure she's still here so she'll be with me along the way."

It'll take around four months for Bernenda to be fully healthy again, to go back on patrol.

Moving forward, she'll look back.

"Before she left, she was happy. I've never seen her happier. There's not enough words to describe her because she was such a humble person," Bernenda says. "There were times I would tell her, you know, you're an amazing person, right? She'd be like, no I'm not."

She holds onto these parting words.

"I'll never let you down. And I love you."

Marc will be at Braswell's funeral Sunday. It'll be the first time she'll be able to see her friend since the accident, to say goodbye.