NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — After a long and continued journey to recovery, Craven County deputy Zachary Bellingham, who was severely injured in the line of duty last October after being shot, made a special appearance back at the sheriff’s department Thursday.

Bellingham, who was injured on Oct. 1 after he was shot during a welfare check, received a special award for his bravery. The Craven County Sheriff’s Department, along with the sons of the American Revolution, held a special ceremony for Bellingham today where they presented him with a medal for putting his life in imminent danger to protect the community.

“We are and will forever be indebted to you for your service. I can’t tell you how proud of you I am for your dedication and your loyalty to this office and to the county. Thank you, sir.” Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said.

Bellingham is still under vigorous recovery since he was released from the hospital and began physical therapy. It is still unknown when he will be able to return to work, but he says he cannot wait to return to his duty.