(CNN) — Last year, a police officer in Covington, Georgia, was shot in the head while responding to a 911 call. This weekend, he defied all odds to participate in a 5K.
Officer Matt Cooper led a 1-mile portion of the Covington Police Department’s 36th annual Fuzz Run 5K on Saturday.
It was a far cry from where he was after his shooting, which put him in the hospital during the last year’s run.
“I was so mad I missed it,” Cooper told The Rockdale Citizen. “I said I was doing it this year. My main goals were to get my feeding tube out, my skull put back on, and run the Fuzz Run this year.”
It was no easy task. But after multiple surgeries and months of physical therapy, Cooper felt compelled to give it a try.
Given his condition, Cooper was limited to walking, along with a quick jog as he neared the finish line.
“To be able to finish with a quick jog for at least 10 feet meant the world to me,” he said. “And to have everybody cheer me on… I’m beyond humbled by this city.”
Following the shooting, Cooper was honored by the American Society of Industrial Security with its Top Cop Award. Well wishes and donations poured in from supporters all over the country, including McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A and Walmart.
Fellow officers ran alongside him to show support.
Capt. Ken Malcolm told CNN affiliate WSB-TV that this time last year, he was simply praying for Cooper to survive.
“He was being told, his family was being told, that he would be in a wheelchair. He would not be in a position to run or walk,” Malcolm said. “So for him to be able to get out and lead hundreds of people in a race is miraculous.”