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Liz Martin, Deseret Morning News
Colleen Hanson and Stacy Hanson.

Stacy Hanson can lift his left leg about six inches.

Although that wouldn't normally sound like much of an accomplishment, for Hanson it's a sign of tremendous progress.

"Considering where he was eight months ago to where he is now ... it's pretty amazing to be where we are," said Colleen Hanson, Stacy's wife.

On Feb. 12, Stacy Hanson walked into the Trolley Square mall to buy a Valentine's Day card for his wife. Twenty minutes later, his life was changed forever.

Hanson was one of four people injured when 18-year-old Sulejman Talovic walked into the mall with a pistol-grip shotgun, a .38-caliber handgun and a backpack full of ammunition and started randomly shooting shoppers. Five people were killed in the massacre before police shot and killed Talovic.

"Why I made it out of there was the luck of the draw," Hanson said Wednesday. "No one deserved to die over anyone else in there."

Hanson was a guest speaker Wednesday at the fifth annual Daffodil Day of Remembrance sponsored by the Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah in conjunction with the YWCA's Week Without Violence.

Each year, the group plants daffodils in remembrance of Utahns who have suffered and are still suffering from gun violence. This year's ceremony was at the Midvale Police Station, 7912 S. Main (700 West). A daffodil represents rebirth, respect, regard and love, said YWCA chief program officer Rita Mangum.

Midvale Mayor Joanne Seghini read a proclamation approved Tuesday by the City Council declaring Oct. 17 as "Daffodil Day of Remembrance."

Hanson needs a wheelchair to get around but hopes someday to walk again. He attends physical therapy twice a week and is working on walking with braces, something that isn't easy because there are still shotgun pellets in Hanson's spinal cord that limit how far he can stretch his back.

But Hanson isn't setting any long-term goals for himself to start walking again. Rather, he sets daily goals. Hoping and wishing for things he doesn't have is more difficult than looking at what he currently does have, he said.

"I want to look at the positive things ... think after rehab that day I've done the best I can. I don't look at the fact I'm still in a wheelchair," he said.

Hanson has returned to work full time with Datamark, although his wife still has to drive him everywhere.

And although the Hansons remain positive, they admit it hasn't always been easy.

"We've had our challenges and have our challenges," Stacy Hanson said. "Our lives have been changed completely, that's a fact."

The challenges have been both physical and emotional, with the emotional hurdles being the ones that are sometimes the harder ones, to deal with, he said.

"Sometimes you've just had it," Hanson said. "You have to give that some credence and let it go."

The toll such a tragedy can take on a victim's family can be equally as hard and sometimes gets overshadowed, he said.

Hanson told the group gathered at the Midvale Police Station that society is becoming more numb to violence.

"It's just insane. We're becoming uncivilized," he said. "No one can tell me we don't need to change our gun laws. ... It's obvious there needs to be stronger gun laws, not only in this state, but in the country. It's gotta happen today. It's gotta happen now in a strong way."

Hanson said the worst thing people can do "is to throw up your hands and do nothing."

After Hanson addressed the group, daffodil bulbs were planted in front of the police station.

E-MAIL: preavy@desnews.com