BUFFALO GAP, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Joe Palmour, a 20-year volunteer with the Buffalo Gap Volunteer Fire Department was injured at a structure fire call back in 2018. Four years later, complications from that accident require surgery once again, prompting local friends to arrange an online fundraising page as he’s been placed on unpaid leave from his job in the city’s water department.

“My wife, she started a job but she can’t pull all of the weight and I can’t pull none of the weight now,” said Palmour.

With limited mobility, Palmour spends most of his days on a recliner in the living room of his rural Buffalo Gap home. He also wears a neck brace at all times to prevent further damage to his spinal cord from his cervical vertebrata injured in his 2018 fall.

Back then, he underwent surgery to prevent immediately threatening damage. But with time, other areas of his spine that were low risk now threaten his mobility.

“Now part of C4 and C5, those are in the canal now pushing on the spinal cord. The one between C5 and C6 is bulging, and there’s bulging between C6 and C7,” said Palmour. “Now they’re going to put rods in and fuse everything together, taking bone from my hip to replace the disks.”

Prior to this surgery, which had been scheduled in July and pushed to August 1, Palmour’s doctors said his condition was too severe to keep working at the water department. Palmour was allowed to take paid leave, but an emergency city council meeting on June 20 declared he would not be allowed PTO for his post-op recovery – estimated at three months.

“I didn’t know what to do,” said Palmour.

A family friend arranged a SpotFund page for the family’s living expenses during his recovery.

When asked by Big Country Homepage, Buffalo Gap’s Mayor David Perry said the council made its decision based on the city’s operating budget and that it could not afford to cover the PTO Palmour was requesting for his time off.