CASPER, Wyo. "So I didn't prepare a speech, my speech writer didn't really help me out on this one." Joked Carlson.
Lucky for him, not much needed to be said.
It's been almost a year of uncertainties and obstacles since that life-changing moment last May when Carlson was shot and critically injured.
After filing for retirement papers last summer, there was a moment where the young officer refused to back down.
"it got approved, I got the paperwork, and I shredded it because I was intent on coming back to work." He said.
Easier said than done.
It was a slow process to even consider getting back to a routine in his usual uniform, and even to this day, there are intangible prices that still need time to heal.
"Everyone always said that the physical healing would be the easy part. the hard parts the mental and dealing with all the struggles that come along with that. rediscussed it with the wife and decided that's not only best for me but for the family as well." He explained.
Carlson took home pictures and honors from the police department, including a very special club.
The IACP Dupont Kevlar Survivors club includes 3,100 officers saved by their body armor.
Many are thankful to have celebrated Carlson being able to walk away under his own power, but won't forget what he has done for Casper.