CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - North Charleston, SC (WCSC) - Jeffrey DeGrow, the Charleston County Sheriff's deputy who was shot six times in January in the line of duty, spoke as the guest of honor at the Tri-County Fraternal Order of Police memorial.
"I've been blessed so much through all of this. [The shooting] has changed me. Changed my life," said DeGrow after speaking to a crowd hundreds strong at the Cathedral of Praise in North Charleston. "[The shooting] has given me a new opportunity to talk to people and maybe influence their lives and help other people along the way."
Deputy DeGrow was chasing a suspect in an alleged drug transaction on-foot in James Island Jan. 21, when the suspect turned and shot DeGrow at near-point blank range six times. After taking three bullets to the face, 911 tapes confirm DeGrow walked to his squad car yards away and called in his own request for EMS.
DeGrow says despite the use of an eye-patch for his left eye -- due to loss of vision -- he has made a "near full recovery."
"Thinking about [the shooting] is still difficult, still brings a tear to my eye," said De grow. "The more I talk about [the shooting], the more I am able to cope."
In a service that honored more than 50 fallen officers in the history of Lowcountry law enforcement, DeGrow's brief remarks were viewed as a moving tribute to the beauty of life by those in attendance.
"[Hearing DeGrow speak] makes me have more encouragement out there for others, especially for myself. I want to do be able to do the right thing for others," said attendee Deb Peebles. "[DeGrow] was very heartfelt, just very touching."
While DeGrow has yet to return to work, he is hopeful that he will have the opportunity to do so in the near future. In the meantime, he is thankful for any opportunity to help the lives of others.
"I'm hopeful that, as far as contributing to what I do, and to be a living testimony of what happened to me and how God has worked my life," he said.