Wounded deputy remains optimistic after returning home
Deputy Calvin CJ Lehmann has spent a lot of time at the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office since he was released from the hospital on Saturday.
Each visit is an important step in a long journey to recovery that he is determine to make. “Very optimistic, it just takes time,I’m an impatient person, I always have been, I realize its going to take time for this eye to do something because its still in the healing process, its still swollen,” said Deputy Lehmann.
The wounds from the shotgun blast to his face are healing but he still has to be lead around. CJ lost his left eye and the right eye is severely damaged. Somehow, despite all that, this wounded lawman is able to laugh about his current situation.
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I’m so, I either have vision or I don’t. I’m not going to let it get me down, either way, if it happens it happens if if don’t it don’t, I hope for the best expect the worst,I guess ... it ain’t going to beat me at all.”
Deputy Lehmann was shot Nov 1st when he confronted a man who was barricaded in a hotel room.
“At that moment I was actually worried about my partners,” said Lehmann.
CJ volunteered to be in the lead when officers made entry because he was wearing a protective vest- a decision to protect those behind him and one he doesn’t second guess now.
“I don’t play the what if, game, i don’t jump down the rabbit hole, I go with what I have,” said Lehmann.
He understands how his life has been changed but when pressed on having regrets Lehmann said he would do it again if I had to. “I focus on what’s in front of me, not what could have been, what should have been, what maybe have been, but what do I have ... I knew I’d be alright, I’d be good. I’m still here,” said Lehmann with a laugh.
Since the incident, residents in La Grange and throughout the county have been trying to raise money to help offset medical cost. A big fundraising event is schedule for Sunday.
The event is to be held at the Knights of Columbus community center. Members collected donations and spent Friday setting up for the Sunday auction and benefit luncheon.
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“This is just the beginning Rudy, As we look out at this hall and we think about what is this going to do, what is this going to mean to officer Lehman and his family, we have no idea, it’d going to gone down to who shows up and how opens their pocket book,” said Jody Supak with the local chapter.
But there’s the understanding that eventually CJ’s story may no longer be font page news; but his needs will remain. “He is the age of my son and I’m thinking if that happened to anybody I’d hope that we all would band together and come come through and help him because he is going to need help for quiet a long time,” said Mary Lou Anderle with the Catholic Daughters of the Americas Court Annunciation.
For CJ and his wife- the outpouring of love and support is something they know they’ll will never be able to repay. “We knew it would come together but crazy how fast, and how quick everybody came together to help us ...To be honest I don’t know what I could say I don’t know how to thank them enough to be honest.”
Lehmann is expected to get an update on his right eye in the next few days.
His ultimate goal is to return to the Sheriff’s Office.
The man who is accused of shooting Deputy Lehmann was wanted at the time for failing to registration as a sex offender. He is now facing multiple counts of aggravated assault.