A Manitoba family is seeking donations to help bring its patriarch home from the Dominican Republic, where he was shot several times as he tried to protect a group of schoolchildren from would-be robbers.

One week ago, Les Lehmann was shot by two men who broke into an apartment complex he owns on the tiny Caribbean island.

At the time, 26 students, parents and teachers from Manitoba were in the Dominican Republic on a humanitarian trip, and were staying at the complex.

None of his guests were injured in the incident, which occurred on their first night in the country.

When Lehmann arrived at the hospital he had nine bullets in his body, as well as other physical trauma. He remained conscious through the entire incident.

His daughter-in-law, Eugenia Lehmann, says that at first, he thought he was hit by blanks because “he didn’t feel anything.”

In fact, the bullets hit Lehmann’s body at such odd angles that they didn’t pierce any of his organs.

“It was just short of a miracle how that all happened,” Eugenia Lehmann told CTV Winnipeg.

Lehmann had surgery to remove the bullets and repair some shattered bones. He also lost four litres of blood.

“These men were carrying weapons, they were carrying zip-ties, they were obviously shooting at him, we don’t know if they would have shot at anyone else,” Eugenia Lehmann said. “And that speaks volumes to who he is, and what sacrifice he was willing to make in order to make sure somebody else’s children were okay.”

The Lehmann family wants to fly Les home to Manitoba for further operations and to recover. Without insurance, the cost could run up to $25,000. Anyone who would like to help can donate at donatetoles.com.

With a report from CTV Winnipeg’s Cheryl Holmes