Denton Fire Department, Community Step Up for Firefighter After Amputation

In Denton, the community is rallying around a firefighter who's received some devastating news this holiday season. News, which he hopes won't keep him from the job for long.

Gary Weiland joined the Denton Fire Department seven years ago.

"It's been the greatest thing ever," he said of the job. "Greatest job in the world."

Right now, Weiland is out of work because of something he never could have imagined. Two years ago, he had a knee replaced, after years of wear and tear from playing sports. This past Thanksgiving, while throwing a football around in the yard with family and friends, the knee began to swell.

"So I went to the hospital," he said. " And by the time I got to the hospital I couldn't feel my foot."

Doctors told him the circulation issue was due to clotting. Each time they removed one clot, another would form. Gary underwent 13 hours of surgery, but the problem could not be fixed.

"I'm just trying to wrap my head around this whole thing, because I've been fine, play any sport I want, doing everything, no problems at all," he said. "And then out of nowhere, boom. They had to amputate my leg."

Doctors removed his left leg, just below the knee.

"We are a very faithful family and we are optimistic and we're going to get through it," Weiland said "It is what it is. Can't go back now so just move forward."

Weiland spent Christmas Eve at his Ponder home with his wife and four children, ages 10 through 15. He said if all goes according to plan, he can be fitted with a prosthetic leg in about six to eight months. After that, he said he planned to return to work as a firefighter.

Weiland's co-workers have stepped up. After his leg was amputated, they began a GoFundMe campaign, to help pay medical expenses.

"It's very humbling," he said. "I'm very grateful."

Other firefighters who are amputees have also offered words of encouragement. Weiland said he wanted to use some of the funds to help other amputees.

"I've got a lot of people praying for me," he said.

Because of that, and despite what happened, Weiland feels blessed.

"Something good is going to come out of this," he said. "“I'm gonna get back on two feet and get back to where I was before."

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