Zabala to help him through an extended layoff due to an on-the-job injury.
Travis Hilburn, president of the Roaring River Crew, made the presentation. Hilburn explained the club is part of the Five-O Motorcycle Club, which started as an organization for law enforcement officers. The Roaring River Crew organized in 2009.
Funds raised by the club assist fallen and injured officers, Hilburn said.
Zabala, who has been on the Monett Police Department for three and a half years after moving from the state of California, was injured on Jan. 22. He was responding to a 911 call about a domestic violence incident in progress on the northeast end of town.
"I was the first officer on the scene," Zabala said. "There was a car pulling out of the driveway with three men and a woman in it. I blocked them, told them to back up and stay in the car."
Zabala went to the residence and heard from the resident that one of the visitors, who was intoxicated, had created a scene. While the conversation continued, a rear passenger in the car got out and ran.
"I told him to stop," Zabala said. "I ran after him around the house. He headed south and jumped a fence. I caught up to him and got him down."
The subject, who was intoxicated and had felony arrest warrants against him, appeared to give up after seeing Zabala with his taser. In the process of getting the subject handcuffed and subdued, the subject grabbed Zabala and pulled him down. The arrest was completed and a good night's work appeared to be over.
The following Tuesday, however, Zabala suddenly felt pain. His arm went numb. He could not walk or move his neck. He went to the hospital and later had an MRI done. In the process of running, jumping or being pulled down by the suspect, Zabala's C5 disc in his neck had become herniated. He got a neck brace and had surgery on Feb. 15 to fuse the damaged disc to the one below it.
"This was my first injury on the job," Zabala said. "The neck muscles have been working their way back into position. It's even been hard to read between the neck injury and the brace. The doctor said I could walk, so I've been doing a lot of walking."
Zabala said the city has been good to work with during his layoff. A number of his colleagues have dropped by and helped move a variety of things Zabala found he could not handle. On March 15, Zabala returned to light duty. He admitted he has listened to radio traffic at home and found himself eager to get back to work.
"The injury is not going to make me hesitate one bit," Zabala added.
The gift from the motorcycle club was offered unexpectedly. Zabala said the help was appreciated.
The Monett Police Department has been short two officers this year. Jeff Martinson has only recently returned to light duty after he was injured in December 2009 while trying to subdue an emotionally disturbed man at Walmart.