Alive Day Celebration – Houston Gass
The term “Alive Day” is seldom spoken among Law Enforcement Officers (LEO’s). What you’ll hear is “anniversary of your incident”, “that day everything changed”, or “when it happened”, but rarely will you hear of it in terms of a day to reflect upon. Most try to shutter the past and compartmentalize the trauma. It is easier to ignore it than accept it and move past. With little fanfare from their agencies, it’s a wonder it’s even acknowledged.
At LENN, we choose to celebrate the day of change. It is a life altering event for those affected. Rather than dwell on the past, we will lift up those that survived. After all, why should we mourn what has not been lost when we should be commemorating the sacrifice and rejoicing the new lease on life that’s been given.
Join us as we speak to Houston Gass, on his 6th Alive Day anniversary, today, January 6th, 2020.
Houston Gass began his Law enforcement career in 1999 with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice as a Corrections Officer. He went to the Amarillo Police Academy in 2002 and graduated to begin his career on the streets. He spent time with Friona, TX PD , Pampa, TX PD, and now proudly wears the Uniform for Jacksboro Police in Texas. On January 6, 2015, he was confronted with an officer’s worst nightmare. While trying to coax a suspect from a bedroom closet, Houston was shot in the Face by a 12 Gauge Shotgun at point blank range, right through the door.
“I never saw it coming! My partners and I had responded to a domestic disturbance and 30 minutes later I was being carried out on a stretcher! It changed my life and the life of my family. My wife Jessica and our 3 children definitely had their world turned upside down”, said Houston of his ordeal.
Many surgeries, many setbacks, many obstacles stood in his way to coming back as a police officer. But, in true Houston fashion, he never gave up. He persevered, re-learning how to talk again with his damaged jaw. “While that day could be said to be my worst, I choose to look at it as my best. I am an unapologetic Christian, husband, father, survivor and police officer. My life has been full of adversity.” Houston believes on that day he was given a second chance to reevaluate the important things in life. It didn’t take much to realize that every person involved in his incident was touched and changed by what they saw and did. His family, his friends, and even those on scene allowed him to stare Death in the face and make it blink.
“Policing isn’t all there is to life. I used to live it, breathe it, eat it every day. Now I see family for the blessing that it is and have been able to be more empathetic to those I serve”, having returned to work following a plethora of surgeries and physical therapies. “God is the only reason I am here to share this with everyone. Too many miracles happened that day to say I don’t owe something to Him.”
Now with the Jacksboro Police Department in Texas, He continually uses these circumstances to bring a lesson of survival and overcoming adversity. “My message is simple, the physical recovery is easy. The psychological and spiritual scars are the hard work. I want to encourage all that you can make it through impossible circumstances and come out better for it. It’s not your circumstance that defines you, it’s what you do with it that determines your path.”
One of the best things about Houston is his unwavering humility in his everyday actions. If he’s not working or spending time with his family, it’s not uncommon for him to be lending an ear to a fellow officer cross-country on the telephone at 0230 as a peer advocate for The Wounded Blue. It’s just the way he is, giving back because of what has been given to him.
If you know of any wounded officer’s Alive Day that you would like to see highlighted, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.