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“A blessing:” Chicago cop Carlos Yanez Jr. is grateful to be with loved ones on Thanksgiving – NBC Chicago

On a day when Americans ponder their blessings, a Chicago police officer seriously wounded on duty was especially happy to be celebrating Thanksgiving at home with his family.

“I’m just grateful to be with my son and wake up with him,” said Officer Carlos Yanez Jr. “His smile brightens my day.”

Speaking to NBC 5’s Vi Nguyen, Yanez called it a blessing to be surrounded by loved ones on the holidays.

“… I can’t stop smiling, but you’re right, I could have lost everything all night,” he said.

The seven-year Chicago Police Department veteran was shot at a traffic stop in August and his partner Ella French died of her injuries.

“I mean, she was always kidding and smiling just like me,” said Yanez.

From being discharged from an inpatient rehabilitation facility in October to having her first prosthetic eye in early November, Yanez has made tremendous strides.

“We really felt the kindness of many, many people, and it is really heartwarming. We are really grateful,” said his wife, Brenda Yanez.

On that holiday, Yanez Jr. said he was only grateful for the community’s support and would not take another moment for granted.

“I can only say thank you, I can never pay you back,” he said. “I’ll do what I can on the second chance I get.”

The cop’s father, Carlos Yanez Sr., a retired Chicago police officer, said this Thanksgiving was without a doubt special.

“We took many things in our lives for granted, as most people do,” he said. “Only when you experience tragic events for one of the family members does it bring us closer together and at the same time we understand how fragile life is.”

Yanez Jr. also had the chance to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family in blue at the Fraternal Order of Police. He plans to attend a hearing next month for the two men charged with shooting him and killing French.

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