GARLAND (CBSDFW.COM) – His whole life, Devon Colbert, dreamed of being a firefighter.  For seven years, he tried to get hired.  Finally, last year, his dream came true.  He found a job and a home at Garland’s Fire Station #7.  “The guy never stopped working.  He worked from sun up to sundown,” said Jerry Click, a fellow firefighter.

Colleagues say Colbert would show up almost two hours early for a 24 hour shift.  “He’s just so excited to be here and glad to be here every day,” said Brandon Day, a firefighter.

A week before Christmas, though, Colbert was on his way to buy his wife’s present, with his two year old son strapped in a child seat.  A police report says a car struck his SUV at the intersection of Highway 66 and John King Avenue, causing it to roll into a ditch.

His young son was fine, but Colbert suffered serious injuries that could leave him paralyzed for life.  “When the doctor told him, he could possibly never walk again, he said, does that mean I’ll never be a firefighter anymore?” said Click.  “This has been his goal as long as he can remember. So it’s just devastating.”

Firefighters from Garland and Rockwall, where he served as a volunteer firefighter, are now taking turns at his bedside, supporting his family 24 hours a day, as Colbert struggles to improve.  “He’s joking. He’s smiling, he’s trying to shake your hand. He’s got limited use of his upper extremities so he can’t, but he’s trying to. So you try to stay positive, but when you walk out you want to crumble into a ball and cry. But he’s staying strong, so we’re going to,” says Click.

Colbert was the sole provider for his family of four.  Now his family of firefighters are raising money to help cover his medical and living expenses.  The day of the crash they rented a hotel room for his family, near Parkland Hospital, where he was being treated.   For Christmas, they purchased the gift he had already chosen, but was never able to purchase for his wife – a James Avery necklace.

The day after Christmas, they were there again, with a Garland ambulance to transport him to a Baylor rehab clinic, where he’s now undergoing therapy for hours everyday.

His friends say they hope the doctors are wrong and that Colbert will one day be back where he belongs – working at a fire station.  “We want him back. As much as he wants to be back, we want him back,” said Day.

If anyone can do it, they say, it’s him.

If you would like to donate to Colbert’s recovery fund, CLICK HERE.

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