CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (News10) — An area man, who served time in prison for shooting up his school as a teenager, had been on the road to redemption when he was gravely injured in a sword attack this past summer. While still in the hospital, he spoke with NEWS10’s Anya Tucker giving an update on his recovery and sharing what happened the day of the attack.

“As he’s swinging away, I am thinking, you know, ‘This is how I’m going to go?'”

Speaking from his hospital bed, Jon Romano described the horrific sword attack in August that nearly claimed his life. He was working at the Community Connections, a shelter in Albany, when he says a client who had refused to stop calling the staff racially charged names was asked to leave. Police say the man, later identified as Randell Mason, instead pulled out two swords and charged at Romano.

“He’s hitting my legs, and my legs, they literally start to fall apart. And, you know, thankfully, my body went into shock, and I don’t remember any pain. But I just see him swinging, and I see my coworkers behind — they’re all screaming for him to stop.”

He went on the tell NEWS10’s Anya Tucker that he felt close to dying when the man stopped striking him with the swords.

“I remember reaching down for my phone because I wanted to call my mom. I wanted to say goodbye. But my hand, obviously, it was hanging off,” he said. All four of his extremities were partially amputated. Had the responding police officers not applied tourniquets he would have likely died.

“I guess there was some reason why I’m still here today. So, I’m trying to follow through and make good on my chance at life now.”

The cruel irony of the attack is that it happened just as Jon was making good on promises he made on his own journey to redemption. Back in 2004, he was a deeply troubled, mentally ill Columbia High School student who fired off three shots, striking a special education teacher in the leg before he was tackled by the assistant principal. Since being released from prison, he gives talks to law enforcement to help them better identify would-be mass shooters and potential violence.

Ken Cooper, head of security for the Mechanicville school district, first approached Jon with the idea. They’ve now become good friends. “We’re not done yet, though. Once he gets done with his rehabilitation, we can go back out with the school, talk to other law enforcement,” said Cooper.

Anya asked Jon how he would respond to those who still see view him as the teen who hatched a foiled plan for a mass shooting. He told her that he understood people’s mistrust.

“I just want them to know that I understand that they just want to make sure their kids — that their community — is safe. And they see me as a possible threat. I want them to know that I am here to help to eliminate future threats, and I just hope I can do that for them.”

As for his road to recovery, it remains a long one. It began with several surgeries to reattach ligaments, tendons and bones. But he is hoping that the doctors will get him up on his feet next week for therapy to re-learn how to walk. He also told Anya that he is not holding on to any anger and that he forgives his attacker.