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.