'Super thankful that God didn’t take me': Deputy reflects of life since being shot

Published: Nov. 29, 2019 at 3:53 PM EST
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A Southern Kentucky Deputy injured in the line of duty during the summer has a lot to be thankful for this holiday season.

Tyler Watkins was responding to a call in McCreary County when police say Mark Dungun fired multiple shots at him.

He is still recovering from his injuries.

For more than 5 months, Tyler Watkins has not been able to walk into work with his badge and uniform on.

“I know I’m getting a little stir crazy being at the house but I’m ready to go back to work. Ready to go back to the job that I love doing,” said Watkins.

The job he loves nearly killed him on July 16. Police say when Dungan shot at Watkins, one bullet lodged in his vest, another went into his abdomen. Recovery has been slow for Watkins ever since.

“I still have a little bit of a limp when I walk. With physical therapy that is starting to clear up,” he added.

He was recognized on the US Senate floor, and last week received a plaque from Sen. Mitch McConnell. He was given the Medal of Honor by the Sheriff’s Association. Next month, he will go to the headquarters of the company that made the vest he was wearing when he was shot.

“The company is actually going to fly us out to their facility. Going to make me another vest while I’m down there,” Watkins added.

Watkins say he appreciates all the awards and recognition he has received, but he says he wants to recognize the actions of Constable Cody Stephens. He said had it not been for what Stephens did that day, he likely would not have survived the shooting.

He says Stephens’ quick action to apply a tourniquet may have saved his life.

It is that and everything that has happened since that has Watkins saying a lot of thanks this holiday season.

“Where would my family be if I wasn’t here? With it being the holidays I am super thankful that God didn’t take me. He said it wasn’t time to take me at that time,” he added.

Watkins says if his physical therapy goes as planned, he should be patrolling McCreary County again in February.