A temporary foreign worker severely injured when he was shot during an attempted robbery in Red Deer three years ago no longer has to leave Canada and return to the Philippines this summer.
Jaysen Arancon Reyes, 28, said Tuesday that he was very happy that he was recently granted a three-year work permit by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Reyes had come to Red Deer in May 2013 under a two-year Temporary Foreign Worker permit to work at the Fas Gas in West Park. But that September, a would-be robber fired a sawed-off shotgun into Reyes’ face.
Reyes suffered permanent injuries to his hands and face, setting off numerous surgeries as well as psychological counselling for the trauma and depression. His employer, Parkland Fuel Corp., has been by his side for much of the way since, offering legal and other help. The man who shot Reyes was eventually sentenced to nine years in prison.
Since Reyes was unable to work after the shooting, he was granted a temporary visitor visa that was to expire this Aug. 30. However, he said that after his story appeared in the Red Deer Advocate in March, he was contacted by an Immigration officer and eventually granted a new three-year temporary foreign worker permit.
Reyes said he was hoping to be granted permanent residency on humanitarian and compassionate grounds but that did not happen. It’s still in the process, he said, as he wants to become a Canadian citizen.
He also wants to get back to work, probably in Cochrane where he now resides, but his doctor recently decided to perform one more surgery on his left hand. The doctor at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary also removed another shotgun pellet near his right eye. Reyes still has nine pellets in his face.
His physical injuries included damage to an eye, the loss of a thumb on one hand and a finger on the other, facial scars and arm deformities. He had raised his hands to protect himself as the man pointed and fired the gun at his face.
The latest surgery was two weeks ago, and Reyes continues to receive physical therapy in Calgary four days a week. He hopes to be working again in about two months.
He said he is very bored and frustrated that he cannot earn money yet, and he works at putting the “bad memories” behind him. He attends his appointments and walks two hours a day.
Reyes had come to Canada to work and send home money to help his mother and siblings who are poor. He said he will do that again once he gets back to work.
Reyes said Workers Compensation will help him find a job in a “safe place.” He said he is afraid to work at another gas station.
His mother had come to help him but she has now returned home to the Philippines where she is working on getting her home repaired after it was damaged in an earthquake.
After Reyes was shot, many people in the community reached out to support him and some have become his good friends.
The soft-spoken Reyes said earlier that because he was given a second chance at life, he wanted the man who shot him to have a second chance too, and he forgave him.