by Caroline Vandergriff | CBS 11


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.

Gary Weiland – Denton firefighter (courtesy: Gary Weiland)

In November of 2018, Weiland had to deal with life-changing complications from a long ago knee surgery.

“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.”

Gary Weiland – Denton firefighter (courtesy: Gary Weiland)

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.

Gary Weiland – Denton firefighter (courtesy: Gary Weiland)

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