Fundraiser for injured trooper set for Friday | VailDaily.com

Fundraiser for injured trooper set for Friday

Lauren Emenaker
Special to the Daily

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EDWARDS — What does it take to be a police officer? It is something many of us never take the time to consider. I surely didn't realize all that it entails until I started working on a fundraiser for local Colorado State Patrol Trooper Eugene Hofacker.

State patrol troopers rarely travel together. Thankfully, Hofacker was traveling to a training session with fellow trooper Shane Gosnell on the morning of May 8, 2014. Upon entering Glenwood Canyon, Hofacker and Gosnell saw a car pulled off to the side of the road and stopped to offer assistance. When Hofacker approached, the motorist, convicted felon Thomas Ornelas, started shooting. Hofacker was hit four times, inflicting life-threatening injuries.

Gosnell immediately returned fire, killing Ornelas.

"It was the best worst case scenario," Hofacker said. I'm blessed to have had (Gosnell) in the car with me that morning and Sgt. Coby Smart on site shortly after. Everything fell into place for me to be here today."

Nearly 15 months, later Hofacker is still recovering from the surgeries resulting from this incident. "I'm looking forward to returning to the communities that I serve as a state trooper."

Hofacker has had five surgeries so far. He is working hard with rehab to be able to get back to full-time work as soon as he can.

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Hofacker has served as a trooper for seven years, primarily in Eagle, Summit, Lake, Garfield and Pitkin counties. In the winter, he teaches snowboarding at Vail Resorts.

To aid his recovery, the Vail Valley Charitable Fund is hosting a fundraiser for Hofacker on Friday at Route 6 Cafe in Eagle-Vail from 5:30 to 8 p.m. There is a $25 suggested donation for dinner and two drink tickets. The silent auction includes a Weston snowboard, a Vail Resorts Epic Pass, a zipline experience for four and much more. Please stop by to show your support.

The Vail Valley Charitable Fund's mission is to help locals who live and work in the Vail Valley and who have financial need due to a medical crisis or long-term illness. We strive to raise money and community awareness and could not complete our mission without organizations and people like you. To make a donation, please go to the foundation website's page for Hofacker.