United States Navy Corporal and Norfolk Sheriff’s Officer Laurie Wood was born in Plattsburgh, New York and raised in the small town of Peru, New York. Her childhood was fun, full of family traditions, and plenty of friends. She loved to ride bikes, play pond hockey and tennis, run in cross-country and track, and spend time with her friends. Wood is the youngest of three children, her older brothers being identical twins. Her father remarried after her mother sadly passed away, providing Wood with a step sister and brother.
Inspired by her brother who was in the Navy, as well as the promise of a Photographer’s Mate, Wood decided to enlist in 1995. There, a new interest began to blossom—law enforcement. Fueled by this passion, she made the decision to transition to the Reserves and commit herself to a career in law enforcement. In 2000, Wood joined the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office where she demonstrated her dedication and versatility by serving in various roles. Her experiences ranged from working in the jail to Community Affairs, where she engaged with the local community, and eventually, to becoming an instructor at the Academy, guiding and shaping the next generation of law enforcement officers. Wood adored the camaraderie and being a part of something bigger than herself. Having the opportunity to educate and mentor aspiring law enforcement officers and impact the next generation of professionals was rewarding and she took great pride in it. Wood’s main goals were to shadow those she aspired to learn from and take after, focus on her values, and keep herself and those around her safe. One day, while going over drills with recruits at the Academy, Wood fell from the roof of a mock-village, sustaining a T10/T12 burst fracture, leaving her with paraplegia. Her recovery was initially difficult while learning to navigate her new normal, however, she remained resilient and maintained a positive outlook.
Currently, Wood lives in the same home in which she raised her son, Gavin, who is nineteen years old and currently in the Navy himself. Wood describes Gavin as her rock; she is eternally proud of the young man he has become. Wood’s hobbies include sled hockey, downhill skiing, waterskiing, handcycling, and spending time with family and friends. Additionally, she teaches firearms instruction to disabled shooters and volunteers her time to Evelyn’s Wildlife Rescue. In the future, she is excited to watch her son grow into an even more amazing human than he already is and see where life takes him, as well as potentially obtain a new motorcycle. Wood would also like to thank her brothers, sister, dad, Joanne, Mary, Alexis, Gabe, Shawnda, Lisa, Annmarie, and her entire Navy family who have been there to support her through her recovery process and always. She is grateful to the Foundation for providing her with the financial stability of a mortgage-free Smart Home. The modifications made to her home allow her to adapt to living in a two-story home in a more accessible and inclusive way. Finally, United States Navy Corporal and Norfolk Sheriff’s Office Officer Laurie Wood would like others to know that she is fiercely independent at her core and the assistance from Tunnel to Towers has allowed her to keep that part of herself.