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Benefit to help injured firefighter

Posted at 5:42 PM, Mar 18, 2016
He used to rescue others, but now a Hillsborough County firefighter needs you. 
 
Lieutenant Eric Valdes was hit by an uninsured driver while riding his motorcycle home from work in January. 
 
"I was the airbag for the bike, I took most of the damage from it," said Valdes.
 
He's not kidding.
 
While Valdes's motorcycle was barely damaged, his body on the other hand now has as many bolts, bars and screws as the bike itself. 
 
"I was driving home and next thing you know I was on the side of the road," said Valdes. 
 
The father of two was hit by an uninsured driver on January 30 just three miles from home. 
 
He spent 12 days in the hospital with a broken femur, ankle, arm and the list goes on.
 
So does the painful physical therapy to get his life back. 
 
"It was heartbreaking for sure.  Receiving that phone call and not knowing if you're going to make it to the hospital and everything going to be ok or if you're going to get bad news," said Fatima Valdes, Eric's wife. 
 
Valdes' wife spends time every day working and massaging his fingers. 
 
However while he's making progress -- the medical bills continue to add 
up.
 
"Even though he has health insurance, we don't know what it will end up being because it's an outstanding bill," said Valdes. 
 
At last check he's had nearly a half million dollars in procedures.
 
On Sunday, a fundraiser will be held in Westchase Commons at 1 p.m. 
Donations from raffle prizes will help to get this local hero on his feet and back with his crew saving lives once again. 
 
The fundraiser is to help offset these out of pocket medical costs and living expenses so that Lt. Valdes can focus on his therapy and recovery. 
 
You can join the family oriented celebration with bounce house, food, DJ, raffle items to include a signed guitar from members of the Bellamy Brothers, a signed UT hat from Tito Martinez, signed baseball from Brett Gardner & more.
 
When: 1:00pm, Sunday, March 20, 2016
 
Where: Bichler, Oliver, Longo & Fox, PLLC in Westchase Commons 
13031 W. Linebaugh Avenue Tampa FL 33626.