(WJBK) - Oakland County Sheriff Deputy Tom Kangas is on the long road to recovery.
The arson investigator and canine handler lost a finger in a freak accident on the job. An excavator grapple bucket closed on his hand.
"I think a week after the second surgery when they took the cast off," he said. "And I tried to move my finger and it was a big disappointment for me when I realized it didn't work."
A plate with screws now hold up his middle finger. His dominant hand is dogged by nerve damage and practically inoperable. He now has to learn how to shoot with his left hand
"They say the biggest challenge will just be learning how to draw from the holster," he said.
And the most mundane tasks like brushing his teeth and washing up require his wife Rebecca's help.
"The hardest thing is his pain," she said. "Taking care of him, is okay. It's his pain."
The injury not only sidelined Tom, it's making it harder to keep up with five of his 11 children's medical conditions. They suffer from Chiari Malformation and Hydrocephalus which often requires a number of surgeries every year.
Tom worked a lot of overtime before the accident. Now he's on worker’s comp receiving 80 percent of his base pay.
"I mean you're comfortable getting along with what you had and that comes to a halt," he said.
A fellow Oakland County Sheriff's Deputy started a GoFundMe campaign to help the Kangas family stay on their feet.
To donate, go to gofundme.com/the-deputy-kangas-assitance-fund