In August of 2002, a vehicular accident put Karl Taylorson out of commission for months, but it did not stop him from wanting to continue his work in the community. A battalion chief with Phenix City Fire Rescue, Tyalorson has now accumulated 25 years and counting as a member of the fire department. He opened up about his ordeal nearly two decades ago.
“I was on my way home from work and my back tire blew out on a curb and sent me flipping down the road,” he said. “I broke my hip in three places, broke five vertebrae, five ribs, collapsed my lung, and messed up my knee.”
Taylorson had to be flown to UAB to receive medical attention due to the risk of him not being able to walk again if he received care locally due to the complexity of the surgery. He credits his successful recovery to his mother, who nursed him back to health when he needed her the most.
Despite an arduous path to recovery, Taylorson was determined to get back on his feet and continue working for the city to help as many people as he could. He returned to work on light duty in two and a half months and without limitations after three and a half months.
“The doctor actually had me jump on my bad leg and hop as far as I could on one leg to make sure I was good” Taylorson said.
He became a firefighter after serving as an active duty soldier for three years in the U.S. Army right after high school. When he left active duty, he wanted to work in public safety. During a Labor Day fair in Seale, he was asked if he was interested in becoming a firefighter and from there he visited former Fire Chief Denard every week to ask if there was a position available.
“I want to help people. I like being that guy that people call when they need help,” he said. “I like knowing that I can help solve or mitigate whatever they’ve got going on from minor issues to major incidents.”
After leaving the active component of the military, he has continued to serve as a member of the Army National Guard and has now reached 29 years of total military service. During this period, he was deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm. He has also had the opportunity to learn multiple skills through the training he received for multiple Military Occupational Specialties. Although he enjoys his work, he still reminisces about when he first became a firefighter.
“I still wish I was in there fighting fire with the guys, kicking down doors, providing patient care. Captains still ride in with the firefighters and that was probably my favorite position,” he said.
Taylorson can’t resist grinning when he talks about his family. He and his wife Emily, whom he married in 2009, share 6 children. He knew instantly that she was the one.
“After we started dating, I had no doubt in my mind. She is a blessing every day to me,” he said.
Remaining at the same place of work for over two decades is a milestone that can be difficult to reach, but not for Taylorson.
“I love the job, the city, the small-town personal nature of everything. It is a great place to work, it’s a great occupation to be a part of, a great community to reach out to and try to help people” he said. “There is nothing more rewarding than giving of yourself to help people.”