Mecklenburg Co., VA - Just more than a year ago, a Mecklenburg County deputy was almost killed when a tree branch fell on his cruiser trapping him inside.
But he did not qualify for workman's compensation because the accident was considered an act of God.
Now, thanks to his story, laws have been changed to protect officers like him.
After taking his case to the General Assembly, he has opened the door for public safety officials across the state to feel a little bit safer on the job.
What started as a normal day for Billy Mull ended with him being airlifted to Duke Medical Center, where he was told he may never walk again.
"I couldn't remember where I was at. I was knocked silly for a little bit so they were scared of some kind of brain injury, " Mull said.
That same day, Mull got a call from workman's comp saying he would not be covered due to the cause of his injury.
With two daughters at home and a long recovery ahead, Mull was devastated.
"My first reaction was disbelief and then it turned to anger, " said Mecklenburg County Sheriff Bobby Hawkins.
Hawkins immediately began spreading Mull's story throughout the community, and help came pouring in.
"A lot of community organizations really stepped up their fundraisers to help him out, " Hawkins said.
After eight months of recovery, Mull returned to work with a new mission: To make sure no one else would face what he went through.
"You're out trying to protect others. You should be protected as well, " Mull said.
Mull and Hawkins joined local legislators at this year's General Assembly to push for new legislation that would allow public safety officials to be compensated for a wider range of on the job injuries.
And they were successful - a victory that will protect those who vow to protect and serve.
"It's a sense of pride, sense of relief that we've done something that will help others in the future, " Hawkins said.
The new legislation will go into effect in July.
It will cover all public safety workers - including firefighters, first responders, and game and inland fisheries personnel.