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Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: mfarris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @megfarriswwl

NEWORLEANS- The morning when four St. John's deputies were shot, one member in the community watched the news unfold through a different pair of eyes.

It was a young police officer who knows the scene first hand.

On May 22, 2006, months after Hurricane Katrina, EMS and Charity trauma surgeons, rushed to save the life of an NOPD officer shot in the line of duty.

The young man, Andres Gonzalez, only in his 20's, had spinal cord damage. Within six months he was out in the community talking to teens in schools and to this day is still trying to make a difference by talking to every police academy class.

At home he needs 24-hour care. His sister spends every night with him.

Today at 31 years old, 'Chico' as his friends call him, has a new calling. Like the entire community, he watched in August as the news unfolded, of the shootings of St. John Deputies, killing two and wounding two.

'When I see what happened it brings tears to my eyes, 'cause, not only for their families but, you know, I could see what my family went through. Plus, the ones that passed away could have been me,' said Gonzalez from his wheelchair.

So he started a non-profit from his home in Metairie. 'Help for Heroes' will have its first fundraiser for those St. John deputies and their families.

Chico has a pit bull named Boss, born blind in one eye. He is too hyper to be a service dog.

Friends and neighbors make sure he has company and outings to eat and listen to live music.

It's rare when he has a 'why me' moment.

'I've accepted it. But yeah, I still have my one or two days a year that it just bears down on me. But I get over it quickly,' he said.

The fundraiser is this Sunday, October 14 from 4 to 8pm at South Port Hall. There will be two bands, food, auctions, raffles and a motorcycle and car show.

You can donate at any First Bank and Trust to the 'Help for Heroes' account.

Website:

http://www.help4heroes.org/

E-mail:

andres@help4heroes.org

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