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'God really had his hand on me' Kernersville police officer shares story of recovery months after being shot in the face

Officer Sean Houle spoke with WFMY News 2 as he recovers with the support of his family and community

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Three months after a suspect shot a Kernersville Police Officer in the face, that officer said he is recovering well with the support he's received ever since.

Sean Houle remembers every detail of the night a suspect shot him twice.

"You plan for these scenarios but to face it, is definitely a whole nother story," Houle said.

Officer Houle said he was returning someone to their home after they were released from custody. When he got there he saw another man, he said was suspected of fleeing a traffic stop.

"A struggle ensued with an individual I was attempting to arrest and that’s when things did become atypical," Houle said, "Unfortunately, I was shot twice-- once in the face and in the hand."

He said one bullet hit him in the Carotid artery. The second tore through his left hand.

The thought of his family--a wife and two young sons--along with his faith in God kept him alive.

"It’s not your time. It’s time to survive, you’ve got this family and whatever else (God) has in store," Houle said.

Houle said he required 70 units of blood when he got to the hospital. He would undergo several life saving surgeries and more procedures than he can count.

Four months later, he is healthy and strong. Doctors at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center gave him facial reconstruction and removed his middle finger.

"It’s just amazing what folks can do and especially amazing what people can do through God. I just am extremely thankful and grateful for that and also it’s just the beginning of the story," Houle said.

Now he spends his days playing with his sons in between doctor visits and physical therapy. He said the daily appointments often feel like a full time job.

His wife Ellie is a nurse who is making his recovery her job too. Houle said his wife is a cancer survivor in remission.

"I love her more than I can really even describe in words honestly," Houle said, "I would be in a much different situation if I didn’t have her by my side through this ordeal."

There's also someone else he said helped him get this far in recovery--the Kernersville community.

They held parades, fundraisers and raffles to support him and the Houle family. He still wears bracelets with the hashtag, "Houle Strong".

"The fact that people were doing anything at all was they had a direct effect on my healing and my recovery mentally and physically," Houle said.

His goal is still to return as a Kernersville Police Officer.

"I certainly would love to be a police officer if that’s what we can get me physically and mentally there and that’s what we’re working for," Houle said.

He believes God has a plan for him and he hopes the outpouring of support and positivity continues beyond him.