PEORIA (PAY IT FORWARD) -- After 33 years on the job protecting the public, former Peoria Police Sgt. Mike Tellef cannot stand or walk because of a severe hip problem. He is confined to a bed in an assisted living home. "You just can't take off and go," Tellef said. "I can't just go out the front door and go around the neighborhood if I want."
But Tellef's days of feeling trapped in his room are coming to an end, thanks to the kindness of friends and strangers.
[WATCH: "I'm totally floored...."]
Just a few days ago, Tellef's daughter started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to buy her dad a motorized wheelchair to help him get around. Within hours, donations came pouring in from across the state. "The response has been overwhelming," Tellef said. "I'm totally floored by the response."
By Friday afternoon, more than $5,000 had been raised, paving the way for Tellef to get the motorized wheelchair that will change his life. It will be delivered on Christmas Eve.
"We're looking at moving to an apartment complex in Mesa [ST] the end of March, and this is really going to free things up for me," Tellef said. "I will be able to get around the building and get around the facility."
Tellef said he was perfectly content using his standard wheelchair, but his daughter insisted on reaching out to the community for help. He's glad she did. "It means a lot to me," Tellef said. "I always strived to do everything I could to be good to the people I was serving and who were my customers. And they're paying me back -- big time. The community has really stepped up and paid it forward."