DENTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Against all odds, a Denton firefighter whose left leg had to be amputated last fall is back on duty.
Not only did Gary Weiland have to learn to walk again with a prosthesis, he also had to train for months to get back to the job he loves.
“This was my ultimate goal, getting back to work full-duty,” Weiland said.
“Waking up in a hospital bed, the doctor saying we’re going to have to amputate your leg, which is pretty unbelievable considering I was just running around on the football field, throwing a ball with the kids, and having a great time,” he said. “So it was tough to swallow.”
But Weiland stayed focus on his goal.
“Gary, two days post-op of removing his leg, was already telling anyone who would visit him that he would make it back to full-duty, full-shift work, quicker than any person out there,” said Chief Kenneth Hedges with the Denton Fire Department.
Doctors told Weiland it would take a year or two before he’d get back to active duty.
He did it in 10 months.
“We all have obstacles, we all have adversity – everyone,” Weiland said. “And how you respond to that adversity is what determines your character.”
He hopes his story inspires others who are going through hard times.
“I’m a firefighter and I have a prosthetic leg, so if I can do that, the world is your oyster,” he said.
Now that Weiland is back at work, he’s set his sights on a new goal.
He recently made Team USA’s High Performance Sitting Volleyball Team and hopes to go to Tokyo next year for the Paralympics.