This Guardian Angel Bleeds Red

Sebastian Metz's heart is in the right place. If only his brain and body could follow.

"This injury has affected me. It's made me do things I'm not proud of. I was moody and angry, and I snapped at people, and I snapped at my wife," Sebastian says. "I was behaving more like some kind of degenerate than Sebastian Metz, Guardian Angel, this guy that my wife had married that was pure of heart."

But he's also gained an appreciation for things he didn't have before. "I reconnected with my family," he continues. "I know I will not abuse time the way I did — time is precious. I'll never work as long as I once did, I'll work as hard, but I'm not going to spend my whole life working. That's what I did before. I did the job all the time; 24/7 was the deal. I spent all my time working, coming home late, going in early, skipping lunch.... The Angels are important, but my wife and son, it's not even close."

The Angels still pay Sebastian a small stipend, and he still does regional work, recruiting and helping to develop new chapters. He plans to get the newsletter back out. Under the leadership of Arch Angel, who took over in January, the chapter has moved back to Capitol Hill, and membership stands at about ten Angels. At Sebastian's request, even Doc has returned to help.

Sebastian Metz before his surgery (left) and today.
Mark Manger
Sebastian Metz before his surgery (left) and today.
Sebastian is flown to Denver in a coma after heart surgery.
Mark Manger
Sebastian is flown to Denver in a coma after heart surgery.

Outside of New York, where Sliwa has always held things together, every chapter in the country has gone through something like this, Sebastian says. And Sebastian was usually the one who revived them. So before he moves to Nashville, which he plans to do, he hopes to pull one more Angels chapter back together.

"The Sebastian you deal with now, he's brick," Sliwa says. "That's the highest compliment we can give to a Guardian Angel.He's been to hell and back, and he's ready to do it again — there's no stopping him.... He's a living, walking, breathing example that somebody can make a difference.

"We're in 102 cities and ten countries, and I've dealt with tens of thousands of Guardian Angels over the years, and there is nobody that can come close to this guy. We need him now more than ever before in Denver."

Sebastian's small apartment has a kitchen and a bathroom and a bedroom that doubles as a living room and office. Inside the lone closet, he keeps a couple of big boxes filled with old newspaper clippings about the Angels from Europe and Australia and Denver and New York. When he's not walking the streets, he spends much of his time writing about growing up, about the Angels and life after surgery, choosing a topic depending on his mood. One day he hopes to publish his work, to get it all out, but right now it's more like therapy for him. It helps with his memory.

All of his income goes to insurance, medication, rent and food. His sister pays for him to have a cell phone, and Shauna helps him out, too.

"In the future, I hope to be smarter with my time," he says. "I want to make sure that what I do has a bigger impact on things and on the community. I think the stuff with the Angels is a good program, but I think the world is changing.... The need for patrols is still there, but I think there's a growing need for working with young guys before they turn into the criminals.... I'm more interested in preventative work. Intervening was an immediate feeling, gratifying, but now I can no longer do that. I want to turn my efforts to those things that can have long-term impact on people."

Like the impact he had a dozen years ago on the kid who fell off the skateboard that Sebastian hopes will be Denver's newest Angel.

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