It's been nearly a week since liquor store owner Thomas Dotterer was shot in the eye following a robbery. The 77-year-old is out of the hospital and recovering. One of his first trips was back to the store where he's worked for many years. Our Iris St. Meran caught up with him on his homecoming and tells us more about his new lease on life.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Thomas Dotterer, 77, may very well lose his ability to see from his right eye. But he hasn't lost his sense of humor or hope for the future.
Dotterer said, "Every day is great. Everyday it's great because I have an opportunity to meet new individuals and broaden my appreciation of what God has given all of us to enjoy."
Last Wednesday, two men robbed Syracuse Wine and Spirits and that's when Dotterer was shot in the eye. He's out of the hospital, but was told by his doctor he will likely be totally blind in one eye. The Christian Brothers Academy baseball coach plans to travel to Philadelphia to get a second opinion. But one of his first stops was the liquor store. There he was welcomed with notes, visits and some kind gestures.
"One of the very poorest of all people, a person similar to the individuals that you just witnessed coming in here offering to give me his eye. How that makes me feel? So unworthy," Dotterer said as he choked back tears.
He shared that he used to be a "gloomy pessimist," but now has finally learned a lesson his father taught him years ago.
"All things happen for reasons that preclude maybe present understanding,” Dotterer added. “But you deal with the cards you have dealt to you."
And in his dealing with his own cards, he has inspired his community, family, friends and strangers to always find the bright side even in the darkest of situations.
Syracuse Police made a second arrest in armed robbery at Dotterer's liquor store. Police say Delvon Harley, 23, was involved in the robbery and theft where two women's purses were stolen earlier that day. Harley is facing separate robbery charges for the two incidents and is charged with assault and criminal possession of stolen property in connection with the liquor store theft.
Shireff Williams, 19, was arrested and charged last week in that case. Police say Williams was the one who shot at 77-year-old Thomas Dotterer during the hold up, striking him in the eye.