HOUSTON - A retired Houston Police Officer is turning to the community for help after recent stints with COVID-19 and emergency double bypass heart surgery.
“We’re stressing out,” said David Villarin, a retired Houston Police Officer.
The 52-year-old Grandfather is a disabled U.S. Army Veteran and worked 13 years as a Houston Police Officer until 2016.
“I was medically retired after a head-on collision with a burglary suspect,” said Villarin.
Like many people across the country, 2020 has been a painful year for Villarin. The retired HPD officer says he didn’t worry about getting COVID-19 until he got sick in June.
“I wasn’t really worried about it,” said Villarin. “I think that was part of the issue. I wasn’t wearing my mask, and I had dropped my guard.”
Villarin and his wife, Sandra, both suddenly got sick in June with the Coronavirus. While she was for the most part asymptomatic, David got seriously sick.
“I spent a week in the hospital,” said Villarin. “Then, another almost 3 months in bed.” In September, Villarin noticed his health wasn’t improving and it was still hard to breathe. That’s when he went to get more tests at a Houston area hospital.
“I found out I had 2 blocked arteries,” said Villarin. “I had to go into emergency surgery to do a double bypass on my heart. Overall, it changed my perspective on life.”
While Villarin is slowly starting to feel better, the medical bills are stacking up. According to his wife, they need more than $30,000 for medical bills, medications, and physical therapy.
“I don’t have health insurance,” said Villarin. “I can’t afford it. You take a decision whether you have it and you don’t buy groceries, and you can’t pay a bill.”
“We’re just needing a little extra help right now,” said Sandra Villarin.
A fundraising page has been posted online. The retired police officer now looking to the community he served, hoping they have a heart for him too.
“I don’t know if it was a blessing or a curse,” said Villarin. “At least now I’m recovering from all of that.”