PASADENA, Texas -- In a single moment, Mike Huffman lost a best friend and a fellow Pasadena police officer.
“I was good friends with him and I’ll miss him,” Huffman said.
They had been heading home from a hunting trip near Kerrville in April when they came upon a major wreck along I-10.
As they stopped to assist, an 18-wheeler came out of nowhere. Officer Larry Candelari was struck and killed. Huffman was severely injured.
“For the first five or six days I don’t really remember anything,” Huffman said. “Then my family and the SWAT guys started telling me what happened.”
Huffman has served on the department for 28 years. Most recently, he was a range master who taught firearms.
After 26 surgeries he said he is finally ready to work, but finding his biggest challenge may be monetary.
Huffman said he needs a state-of-the-art prosthetic leg called an Ottobock X3. Developed for soldiers, he said his insurance will not cover the $115,000 cost.
“They developed it to put military personnel back in the field if they chose to go back and it was just released to the civilian population about a month ago,” Huffman said.
Earlier this summer, the police department along with the Citizens Police Academy, held a fundraiser for Officer Huffman. Relatives started a page at www.giveforward.com.
He is making the best of the situation.
“I’ve never really gotten mad about it,” Huffman said. “It’s just part of life and I’ll get a cool leg and I’ll be ready to go.”
He hopes to be walking again within two months and back on the job by the end of the year.
On Friday, the Gringo’s/Jimmy Changa’s Corporation was expected to present him with a $100,000 check for the prosthetic. More than $20,000 has already been raised online.