Grand Rapids, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Just before Christmas, the life of a Grand Rapids man changed forever. Now he's hoping to change it again.
Paul Johnson, 32, and his mother, Rosemary Oberg–Johnson, were shot by an intruder in December.
Rosemary didn't make it, but Paul did and has begun a recovery which his family and friends say is nothing short of inspirational.
"He went through three operations when he was shot. The upper part of his jaw was fractured," said Paul's father, Gary Johnson, "He came within an eyelash of not making it."
Family and friends consider Paul's recovery remarkable. A week ago he moved from Essentia Health – St. Mary's in Duluth to North Country Care in Grand Rapids.
Gary credits the work of doctors at St. Mary's and those at North Country Care for Paul's recovery.
"We have no idea how far he'll come, but he's come so far, so fast. It's amazing," said Gary.
Friends are helping with that journey, organizing a benefit to help with Paul's medical expenses.
"It's easy. I mean Paul is just such a stand–up guy," said friend and benefit organizer, Ryan Jensen, "When this tragedy happened, the wheels just started turning."
The benefit is called, "Paul's Race to Recovery," chosen because of Paul's love for racing.
"If this were to happen to us, Paul would be in our shoes [organizing a benefit] as well," said Monte Jensen.
"Paul has got the race. He has got to recover and he does that like nobody I know," said Ryan Jensen.
Now walking and starting to talk again, Paul is far from the condition he once was.
"To be honest, I think it's [Paul's recovery] surprising to a lot of the doctors that were up there. I mean considering what he went through," said Gary.
If you called him inspirational, his friends would agree.
"He is a fighter," said Ryan,"It's amazing what this guy has done for all of us."
"He has a will," said Gary, "He has a spirit in him that he wants to get better."
The benefit will be held Saturday at 3 p.m. at the IRA Civic Center in Grand Rapids.
The benefit will include a silent auction, dance and dinner.
Written for the web by Jennifer Austin.