UNIVERSITY CITY (KMOV) – A University City officer shot in the line of duty in November faces a long road of recovery and now the community is taking action to help his family.
Back in November, a suspected murder held off federal and local agents. The suspect died but not before wounding two FBI agents and Officer Zach Hoelzer with University City.
It’s been less than two months since the shooting and Officer Hoelzer has long road to recovery. The department is taking care of his medical care and he is still employed, but there’s a cost of crime we don’t always see.
“I had bullet enter in my arm and go through my chest cavity and it went through the brachial plexus and right now I don’t have very much use of my arm and my hand,” explained Officer Hoelzer.
The shooting has changed the life of Hoelzer and his wife Meg.
“I was the certified lid opener in the house,” Hoelzer said with a laugh.
But they’ve had to make adjustments.
“Just trying to figure out how to function in our life right now and how to function in our future life together,” admits Meg.
They do their best to stay positive. Married just six months, the newlyweds find themselves facing a long and uncertain road ahead.
“She’s been out of work while she was taking care of me and that’s been a burden for us,” he explained.
Hoelzer is still employed by University City Police and workers comp is covering his medical expenses. But what’s not covered is the loss of income from overtime and secondary work the family depended on.
That's where a GoFundMe page comes in. It was started without the couple’s knowledge by a family member but the donations are pouring in.
“People I never saw, people across the country that I probably haven’t met and probably will never meet, I didn’t understand why? I was so humbled,” Officer Hoelzer said.
In just three days, the page has raised more than $8,000. And those funds can now act as a cushion as the Hoelzer’s face a tough reality.
“I was the breadwinner for the family and I guess I still am and if it turns out this is a lifelong debilitating injury than I have to find something new to do.”