A Fort Worth university held a campus blood drive Wednesday in honor of a firefighter who was critically injured in a car crash.
Mark Puente, 25, was off-duty when his sport utility vehicle was broadsided July 11 by a man who allegedly kidnapped a 4-year-old boy.
More than 50 people donated blood inside the Carter BloodCare bus during Texas Wesleyan University's daylong blood drive. Puente, who made an appearance to show his appreciation, attended the university and played soccer there for two years.
Puente fractured his pelvis, a rib and bones in his face and sustained bleeding in his brain. He spent two weeks in intensive care and more than one month in the hospital.
"I don't remember the accident at all," he said. "I have memory at the hospital but not for very long. I've been a fighter, so I'm going to make it."
Puente is undergoing therapy at Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation in Dallas. Every day he battles to regain physical strength, speech, and memory.
"He is a model patient -- works very, very hard," said Lee McAfee, Puente's occupational therapist.
Police said Roy Dorsey's pickup truck slammed into Puente after Dorsey allegedly abducted his former girlfriend's grandson. Dorsey was arrested, and the child was returned to his grandmother.
Puente said he is not angry at Dorsey.
"I'm very lucky," he said. "I'm very lucky to be where I am today and am going to work hard to get even better. But this is a shock to me that this even happened. Sometimes I don't even believe it actually happened."
Puente said he just wants to get back to fighting fires as soon as he can. He said he should be able to return to light office duty by year's end and gradually progress from there.
Doctors expect him to make a full recovery.