DENVER -- A former Denver police officer is hoping Giving Tuesday will help raise money for a Pueblo police officer who was shot in the line of duty.
John Adsit was hit by an out-of-control car while protecting protesters on Dec. 3, 2014.
“I’m still here, 35 surgeries later. A long road that continues. There’s some bumps mentally and physically but I’m doing well overall," he said.
“My family was so blessed and continues to be blessed by such a great department and community. Folks have encouraged and supported us through. I felt like it was put on my heart to do as much as I could to help those folks out during those trying times.”
Adsit started the nonprofit Adsit Strong to help other first responders who are critically injured in the line of duty.
“I did not believe the community cared or appreciated what I did in law enforcement until after my incident," Adsit said. "When I started to come to almost five years ago, I realized that was not the case.
"People from all over were praying for our family, were giving donations, food. It was just an outpouring, an incredible, unexplainable outpouring of love and support we received. This is my way of paying it forward.”
This year, Adsit Strong is raising money for Pueblo police officer Jonathan Bell, who was shot in the leg back in April.
He just recently returned to limited duty at work.
“It’s unbelievable how much help we’ve gotten from everybody," Bell said. "There really aren’t enough words to thank you and tell you how grateful we are for this.”
Added Adsit: “The side people don’t realize is they are a very young family, just starting their family. Something like this can be very tough, especially around the holidays.”
Adsit Strong hosted the Rise and Run 5K in September, with the help of Christine and Dan Brite. They raised $12,000 for the Bell family and want to raise even more.
“His story could’ve ended a very different way back in April," Bell's wife Melinda Bell said. "To have him here for thanksgiving and now Christmas, we just have so much to be thankful for.
“The monetary gift will go a long way to helping me care for him and care for our daughter. But more than that, seeing the support, just knowing people are backing us and watching out for us is been even more meaningful. John Adsit is an incredible man and it’s a blessing to come to know him through this situation.”
Donations can be made at the Adsit Strong website.AlertMe