LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Just months after a Christmas miracle, Glenn Blank is back at the Jasper County Sheriff Office and enjoying the work.
While many might find desk duty to be boring, Blank is just excited for the chance to be back at work. It has been a year of pain and struggles for the father of three.
"It all started in March of 2016," Blank said. "I got diagnosed with pneumonia at the hospital. I had pulmonary fibrosis in both lungs. It was bad in the right lung and with a lesion in the left lung it was bad. "
At the time, Blank was employed by the Angelina County Sheriff's Office. He ended up leaving his job because to the illness.
"They were really great to me," Blank said. "They are under staffed, and I was non-exempt, so I thought it was best if I stepped down, so Sheriff Greg Sanches could put someone in that spot that could be there. I was able to get picked up by Sheriff Newman, who said the job would be there for me as I recovered."
Soon after getting the bad news, Blank was put on the transplant list and for several moths battled his failing lungs. It all came to a head one December night.
"I woke up and could not breathe," Blank said. "I tried dialing 911 and could not speak. I had to go to my daughter and wake her up and get her to dial 911 while I got my oxygen and that wasn't supplying enough oxygen. All I remember was the medics getting there and putting me on the stretcher and raising me in the truck."
Blank was put in a coma and with his lungs gone. Amanda, his wife of 12 years, to make a hard decision on Christmas Eve. Amanda would have to decide on signing a DNR.
"I could not even begin to imagine what my wife was going through," Blank said. "She is amazing. I know it was tough on her."
At the same time, across East Texas people were praying, and then Blank said, the miraculous happened.
"I think at 6 p.m., they were going to have to make my wife make one of those hard decisions and at 2 in the morning the donor came in," Blank said.
Seven transplants were done off of the donor's body. Blank got both lungs.
"It was hard," Blank said. "You know you have someone else's lungs in you. I am grateful. I know it is hard for someone else. I was an organ donor because I marked it off on my license. I never really thought about what it meant until now. What I want people to get out of this is to really consider being an organ donor, so someone else has the chance to live."
After the transplant, the effect was immediate.
"Whenever I woke up, I was not on oxygen," Blank said. "I could breathe better than I had in years. "It was a mental thing, though. My wife had to remind me to take deep breaths I just hadn't done it for a while."
However, Blank was not done yet. In the process, doctors found a tumor on his back. He was ordered to stay in Houston for a year of recovery but after three months, the doctor cleared Blank to go back to desk work.
"It is truly a miracle," Blank said. "I owe it to everybody that has supported me both on Facebook and my family."
Now he is working, smiling, and taking every moment in.
Blank has reached out to the family of the organ donor that helped him. He has not been given a response yet, but he hopes to one day meet the people whose loved one gave him a second chance at life.