In Good Hands
Fire Captain Larry Davis had spent his life helping people in need. But after a horrific blaze devastated his hands, he faced a lifetime of limitations—until a dedicated surgeon reopened his world.
Past the spiked and sculpted Joshua trees, the lazy stretches of sagebrush, and the front yard with the cow and her inquisitive calf, sits the house that Larry Davis built.
He built it back in 1991, when this high-desert community of Apple Valley was beginning to boom. He did all the plumbing and tile work, built the fences, assisted with the framing. He and a buddy did the electrical work. Over 11 months, he hammered, drilled, painted, and sanded, shaping the structure with his hands until the beige-and white ranch house was ready to be called home.
“A lot of what you see here I built myself,” he says firmly.
Inside the house, Larry, 49, leads the way to the dining room table. Six feet tall, with the strong build of the football linebacker he once was, he brings a glass of water and deftly slaps an errant fly with a bright green fly swatter.
Carrying a glass, swatting a fly—most of us take such simple tasks with our hands for granted. At one time, Larry did, too.
The fire changed everything.
The same year that Larry built his house, another dream came true: He became a full-time firefighter.
Originally, he had followed in his uncle’s footsteps as a plumber. But he had also moonlighted as an on-call fireman for Apple Valley. With the town opening three new fire stations, he jumped at the chance to go full time.
It was a perfect fit. He was young and strong. He had played football in high school and community college, and he liked being part of a team. Most importantly, he liked helping people.
“I didn’t think of it as being a hero,” Larry explains. “But I enjoyed all that came with fighting fire and just helping people in need, people who are facing a true emergency.”