BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Angel Soto Jr. knows how good it feels to be a hero.
On Oct. 29, as he was helping a man who had just been in a car crash on Old Boynton Road, another vehicle slammed into Soto's right leg so hard doctors were forced to amputate.
Despite his injury, Soto managed to spare the man from more serious injuries, or even death. It was an act many called heroic.
Almost 11 months later, this father and husband concedes his heroism came with a price.
With one amputated leg and the other healing from a fracture, Soto had to quit his job as a security guard. He, his wife, Eileen, and their four children had to break their lease at their apartment and move in with his parents in Boynton Beach.
There the family of six is crammed into a small living room, surrounded by boxes and keepsakes Soto's father refuses to toss. The summer has been particularly brutal, Soto said, since his parents live "old-school style" and have no air conditioner in the house.
A faulty well water system means their water supply is hit or miss. While Soto's wife and kids often shower at a neighbor's house, Soto has a difficult time getting into her bathtub because of his prosthetic leg. Instead, he said, he showers at a nearby YMCA.
At the time of the accident, Soto said, he was living paycheck to paycheck and just had a couple hundred dollars in savings. He used some of that money to pay for a storage unit that housed personal belongings and his beloved keyboard and disc-jockey equipment.
Soto was eventually forced to pawn his musical equipment.
Just weeks ago, his truck was repossessed, meaning he lost the only vehicle he and his wife had to take their 8- and 12-year-old sons to school.
His two older children have yet to start the school year. They have run into some trouble, Soto said, including a recent fistfight at home. Soto tried to intervene, he said, but he's just not strong enough to stand between two teenagers angry because their family is struggling.
"I lost my job, I lost my home, I lost my leg," Soto said. "I have a lot more losses than a lot more wins."
All Soto wants right now is a roof over his head, a place where his kids can sleep in the air conditioning and where he can start piecing together his new life.
Soto and his wife filed a lawsuit against David Plotkin, the driver of the Porsche that hit him that day on Old Boynton Road near North Congress Avenue as he helped Alexander Proscurshim out of his crashed pickup. Records, however, show Soto's wife filed to dismiss the case in December. No charges were filed in the accident.
While Soto deals with financial struggles, he has also had to learn how to walk with a new prosthetic leg. He has medical coverage, which has paid for some rehabilitation sessions. But getting to and from doctor appointments has become more difficult since he lost his truck, Soto said.
"I'm learning how to walk again," he said, "but the world is moving faster than I am, and I'm running on mud."
Information from: The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post, http://www.pbpost.com