Chattanooga police officer Dennis Pedigo suffered a gunshot wound to his leg July 16th during a gun battle with the shooter. 

Channel 3 has been following his recovery over the past year. He just had his second major surgery in February. Doctors replaced the steel rod in his leg. He says some parts of his bone might not ever mend together. Still, he's back at work ready to protect and serve again.

In an exclusive interview, Officer Pedigo says the scars remind him of our Fallen Five servicemen and their ultimate sacrifice. He's thankful for all of the community's support this past year. 

"He is without a doubt the toughest man I know," says Sgt. Gary Martin, Chattanooga Police Dept. "He selflessly ran into the gunfire to prevent deaths and I have no doubt in my mind he and other officers that went in there prevented more people from dying." 

Officer Dennis Pedigo fearlessly ran toward the gunfire to stop a heavily armed terrorist. He was shot in the leg, unable to move and under a rain of bullets when fellow officers dragged him out, returning shots. 

One year later, his memories of the attack are still vivid. 

"Almost a year," says Pedigo. 

Reporter Natalie Potts asks, "How are you feeling?"  

Officer Pedigo replies, "I'm good, just this week, we have a lot going on here at work involving July 16th and it's just bringing back a lot of memories and emotions. I mean, I think about it everyday, but it's the reality." 

Pedigo was working traffic detail that day when the call came out over the radio. From traffic to terrorism on Chattanooga soil, it's a reality he and his family have been working through together. 

"My family is doing well, it put a real tough hit on us," says Pedigo. " It's really a lot to go through, all of the mental and physical that I've been through and a lot of mental for my family and emotions"

Now out of a cast, he's proud to be back in uniform or back at home as he calls it with his brothers and sisters in blue.

" The kids, they didn't want me to come back to work; but, I told them this is what I've got to do," says Pedigo. 

The father of four says it's his duty to protect and serve the community that helped him heal. He says all of the personal letters, hugs and thank you's really made a difference. 

"I'd like to thank them all for all of the prayers and ask them to continue to pray for our community and our country in general," Pedigo says. "There's a lot of turmoil going on and we just need to come together and love each other."

He knows there's a long road ahead to build up the strength he needs to run, jump or ride his police motorcycle again, but he's not giving up. Like most scars, it takes time.

"It takes time to heal just as long as you got somebody there with you to help you or push you through and I fall back on my religious background," Pedigo says. "I know I've got Jesus with me to help me get through it.

Faith and a community that is Chattanooga strong.

"There is not one day that goes by that I don't think about the families and everything that transpired," says Pedigo. 

Officer Pedigo will be participating in the July 16th memorial events to honor the fallen five, he encourages everyone in the community to join.