JOPLIN, Mo. — Officer Rick Hirshey was severely injured in the tragic March 8th incident last year, and he’s still recovering from his injuries.

He was shot in the face, which led to eight weeks of his mouth being wired shut, and sixteen weeks in a neck brace.

It was five months before he returned to work, making the transition to a school resource officer.

Hirshey says he’s in a good place now and gives much of the credit to a support group of other officers who’ve also experienced critical incidents.

“Yeah I got structural damage to my face. I’ve got nerve damage in my face that will be there forever. You got a bullet in my neck, which every once awhile is uncomfortable, but compared to the injuries that some friends of mine have, yeah, this is, this is nothing,” said JPD OFC. Rick Hirshey.

Hirshey says he’s just thankful to be alive — something that might not have been the case if the shot had been just a few millimeters to the right or left.