STEINHATCHEE, Fla. - North Florida police officers and sheriff's deputies are giving back to a fellow deputy hit by two tragedies. Taylor County Deputy Robert Lundy was injured in a shooting rampage in Perry, Florida, in 2014. Then, a month ago, Hurricane Hermine hit his family's home in Steinhatchee hard -- nearly destroying it.
The storm caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage to Lundy's house and the family was left homeless and devastated. But, law enforcement from the Jacksonville, Clay County and Alachua County Sheriff's Offices are volunteering their time to help the Lundys rebuild.
The home was Deputy Lundy's dream home and having it damaged during Hermine was just another nightmare for his family to go through.
There really wasn't much the Lundy family could do as Hermine headed straight for them.
"We knew it was coming," Lundy told News4Jax.
Before Hermine made landfall at 1:30 a.m. September 2, Lundy grabbed his wife and two daughters in darkness and drove to higher ground. Firefighters then took them to safety.
"The only thing that you have time to think about is what is most important," said Deputy Lundy.
The Lundys were among dozens rescued as the category one hurricane barreled through the Gulf Coast. The next day, sunlight revealed the extent of the damage. Not only were there damaging winds and rain, there was also a 9-foot storm surge.
"So many people lost their homes and everything they own. It's very sad," Lundy said.
This storm was just another blow for a family that had been through so much.
In 2014, Lundy was a sheriff's deputy for Taylor County. He took his patrol car to the dealership and then started hearing screaming.
"An employee decided to drive his car through the front window of the dealership," Lundy told News4Jax.
The man came out with a shotgun, shooting two people and looking for more.
"I never saw him until after he shot me and he was going to shoot me again," recalled Lundy.
Lundy was hit in the stomach but was able to shoot back.
"It was crazy. It was very fast," he said.
Lundy did kill the gunman and stopped the rampage.
"He would have killed everybody in his path. From looking at him, and his eyes, he would have shot everybody that he could have that day," explained Lundy.
One man died, and Deputy Lundy nearly died, too. He was in a coma for weeks and in the hospital recovering for months. Lundy was left legally blind, in pain, unable to walk without a limp, and having to retire from the sheriff's office he loved. Despite that, he's alive and grateful.
"I've got to give all my credit to Jesus Christ. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here. I wouldn't have the power to do what I did," Lundy said with emotion.
Fast forward two years later, and Lundy's bravery has not been forgotten. When others found out about his damaged home, they came out in force. Police from all over traveled on their days off, getting right to work to help the Lundy family rebuild.
"When a brother needs help, it's just like being next door, said Steve Zona, President of the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police.
Many don't even know Deputy Lundy or his family, they just heard about the need and volunteered their time.
"It's what we do," said Alex Bergamo with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. "He put himself on the line to save a lot of other people, and he is alive to talk about it."
Not only are these law enforcement volunteers helping to rebuild, they've also raised a lot of money too -- to help get the Lundys back on their feet."
"I have a very good support system. I am very thankful, very blessed," said Lundy. "Having people like this come out here for me and help my family the way they are, there's a lot of good in the world, too. And that's what I try to focus on more these days."
If you would like to help Deputy Lundy and his family in the recovery, there's a lot of ways to do that. There is a donation account set up here. The family could also use more supplies and volunteers. If you are interested, you can email Vic@wjxt.com.
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