In February, Officer Sean Houle with the Kernersville Police Department in North Carolina was in the process of making an arrest went things went south.
Instead of complying, the suspect shot him three times, including in the face.
“Sean was shot 3 times while on duty Sunday, February 21, 2021,” a pinned post from Feb. 24 on the Houle Strong Facebook page states. “Currently, he is in the hospital and listed as being in critical condition.
“He has made some improvements, but still has a long recovery ahead of him. He has a loving wife, Ellie, and 2 precious sons.”
It took time, surgery, a whole lot of prayer and divine intervention to keep Houle earthside. Doctors later said that he’d lost enough blood from his injuries to have died three separate times.
But he made it. The community rallied around him and his family and pitched in with fundraisers and other shows of support.
This Thanksgiving, Houle made his gratitude public.
“As we prepare for Thanksgiving I think about how thankful I am for these amazing people,” he said of the medical professionals who cared for him, according to a post on Houle Strong. “God places people exactly where they need to be. He placed these amazing, courageous and brilliant people in my path along with so many others that night.
“We are so blessed to have such an incredible hospital in our community, staffed with the best of the best! Most importantly; so thankful for the King of Kings and Master of it all! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!!!!!”
He elaborated on that thankfulness when speaking to reporters.
“The fact that God has blessed me with the ability to be here with my family and friends and enjoy this Thanksgiving, and what it truly means — truly being thankful, not just the great food, not just the, the fun and the games but truly being thankful for each other,” he told WGHP-TV last week.
“The fact that we have each other. That’s what it means, and it’s that much stronger to me this year.”
Houle has made the difficult decision to step down from his position at the end of the year due to his medical condition. Though the retirement is bittersweet, the department decided to send Houle out with his best four-legged partner, a K9 named Jax.
“The department has been incredible,” Houle told WGHP. “They’re going to retire my partner Jax with me, so I get to keep my buddy, my dog. That’s a big deal for me.
“God’s redirecting my life … I was on a certain path up until that night, and he’s taken what happened and he’s redirected my path a little bit and you know what that’s okay because. I’m still here, and I hope I can be an encouragement and a blessing to folks moving forward.”
Houle may be off the force, but he’s not done with service. He plans to encourage others by sharing his testimony — and he also plans to make the most of the precious time he’s been given with his family.
“He’s sad to see this chapter close but we know God has other plans for Sean and we can’t wait to see what’s in store,” his family shared on Facebook. “And we look forward to a little bit more quality time spent with family!”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.