LA GRANGE, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - It's not uncommon to spot Fayette County Deputy C.J. Lehmann in downtown La Grange, taking a stroll along the town square.
His fiancée Sonya Behlan is usually by his side helping to avoid obstacles and guiding him in to places like a coffee shop on the square, where he shared about his recovery.
"It was hectic at first, but its slowly calming down,” said Lehmann.
A new house near downtown is an example of one of their most recent adjustments. It’s their first week in it for the couple and their kids. Despite that, it already feels like home; although Lehmann noted they are still waiting on some furniture to arrive.
It’s closer to schools and closer to family than the house they let in a rural part of the county. The new house provides a safe place for the new normal: life without sight.
"Days have their ups and downs, but other than that just learning new ways every day and keep pushing through,” said Lehmann.
Lehmann has launched a video diary on YouTube to chronicle what he calls adventures. One shows him installing new door locks. The videos offer a simple message.
"Don’t give up. There is no need to give up," Lehmann said. "The only thing holding you back is you."
Lehmann was wounded in November while entering a building to serve an arrest warrant. He was the only officer on the scene at the time wearing a protective vest and volunteered to take the lead.
"I don’t regret what I did at all," Lehmann said. "I don’t regret any decision I made. Or anybody else made."
That’s a pretty bold statement, admits Lehmann, considering the shooting claimed both eyes.
“Yeah, but it’s you can’t go back into the past a try to change something, if you do that, that’s something ... when I say you're jumping down rabbit holes," Lehmann said. "It’s pointless because the rabbit hole leads nowhere."
An X-Ray shows shotgun pellets imbedded in his face after the blast. Many of the pellets remain just under his skin and in his jaw. Despite all that, Lehmann is not bitter.
"I never had any anger,” said Lehmann.
Behlan, however, said she was angry.
Lehmann has not lost faith that someday he will once again see spring flowers in bloom. He believes advances in new technology will eventually make that possible. That's why some of the money raised for his family is being set aside to pay for that technology.
Current technology is already helping. FaceTime provides a lifeline to Behlan when Lehmann is alone in the backyard. In a few weeks, he'll start taking classes to improve mobility.
"Getting him more independent, to where he can walk with his cane instead of my shoulder and we can walk together,” said Behlan.
The loss of sight has increased his ability to hear; although with a smile, Behlan calls it selective hearing.
In time Lehmann wants to get involved in motivational speaking, but he is not letting go of his old badge and his dream of staying in law enforcement. Lehmann hopes vocational training classes will allow him to work some type of a support job at the sheriff’s office.