KERNERSVILLE, N.C. — Thanksgiving has even more significance for Kernersville Police Officer Sean Houle and his family.
Earlier this year, he was shot in the line of duty and survived. He told WFMY News 2 he won't return to the force. Instead, he's found a new calling.
"This Thanksgiving definitely means a lot more this year than it ever has before that's for sure," Houle said.
Life changed for Houle on February 21 after being shot in his face, arm, and hand. He spent nearly a month in the hospital and countless hours of physical therapy.
"One thing that I have maintained throughout this whole process, and it's by the grace of God that it's been that way, is being positive, and seeing the silver lining," Houle said.
He's made tremendous progress. From using a whiteboard to communicate to traveling to tell his story.
"That's been such a blessing to be able to share my story, testimony with people because I see it blessing them, and the funny thing is people tell me what a blessing it is for them, and it's even more of a blessing for me," Houle said.
Soon, another big life change will impact Houle.
"I recently found out that I'll be medically retiring at the end of the year just based on doctors recommendations throughout with the injuries that have occurred," Houle said.
He won't be retiring alone though.
"The department has been really great and they are going to retire my partner Jaxs with me, so we get to remain together, and that was a huge deal for me, and I'm hoping to serve in a different way," Houle said.
Sharing his story is his newfound way to serve.
"Time is precious and an event like this really opens your eyes up to this," Houle said. "You don't want to take anything for granted."
Houle hopes to inspire others when they hear his story of survival. He retires next month.
The Kernersville Police said the man accused of shooting him is still awaiting trial.