‘Law enforcement is who I am’: Amherst officer who was shot during standoff receives honors

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AMHERST, Ohio (WJW)-- A local police was honored for his bravery and courage.

Amherst police officer Eugene Ptacek was shot in the line of duty last year and has fought his way back from life-threatening injuries.

"Law enforcement is who I am," Ptacek said.

The 56-year-old credits God, his family and an endless number of supporters for giving him more courage and strength to accept two awards at Monday night's Amherst City Council meeting.

"He fought the physical and mental pain of what happened to him just to survive," said Amherst Police Chief Joseph Kucirek.

Ptacek was presented with the Law Enforcement Medal of Valor and Purple Heart awards.

On May 31, 2018, he was working with the Lorain County SWAT team when he was shot soon after breaching the door during a standoff in Sheffield Lake.

“Officer Ptacek was struck from behind several inches below his ballistics vest with a shotgun slug," Kucirek said.

Ptacek spent 54 days in the hospital recovering internal injuries and even after he was released, he underwent rigorous physical therapy. He said during that time, he made several goals.

"My short-term goal was just to live, my mid-term goal was to get out of the hospital and my long-term goal was to get back at the Amherst Police Department within 18 months. And through the grace of God and through a lot of blood, sweat and tears, and flat-out hard work, I made it in 15 months," Ptacek said.

Ptacek returned to duty on Sept. 12.

"When I realized that there were people from our community that were supporting me that didn't even know me, made me work even that much harder," he told FOX 8 after the ceremony.

Ptacek said he was determined to eventually retire on his terms, not at the hands of a gunman who tried to end his career and his life. The officer, who has his own company, said he works in law enforcement not because he has to, but because he loves helping people.

"When I come home that night and I lay my head on the pillow, I really feel gratified that the Lord put me there to change this person's life and it's the world's most awesome feeling I can explain," Ptacek said.

Officer Ptacek was also honored by the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office. His fiancée and mother were also on hand for the ceremony.

Martin Lynn Robinson, 41, is serving 55 years in prison for the shooting.

Continuing coverage of this story here

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