Jason Schechterle was the opening speaker for our conference and I cannot in my wildest dreams imagine a more inspirational person.
Jason was a Phoenix Police Officer. Almost 10 years ago he was responding to a call when he was rear ended by a taxi cab going 115 miles per hour (the cab driver was having an epileptic seizure and was later convicted for not revealing his condition to his employer and for not taking his medication). Jason was driving a Ford Crown Victoria police car. The gas tank had a tiny hole in it, but because of the impact, the car immediately burst into flames. Jason suffered 4th degree burns to his head and 3rd degree burns to his hands and the tops of his thighs. I didn’t know that there was such a thing as 4th degree burns. It means that even the muscle is burned away. Jason lost his ears, his nose, his hair and suffered extensive damage to his eyes. They were sure he would die from his injuries. They put him in a coma for 3 months while they saved his life. When they were ready to wake him up they thought he would be deaf and blind. He was able to hear and while he was blind, he was only blind for awhile. He wears 4 contact lenses now. When he takes out his contacts, he says it looks like he is underwater, but the contacts enable him to see well enough to drive.
Jason told us many of the details of his accident and what his life has been like since. He tells his story with an abundance of humor, like when he was getting ready to leave the hospital and his wife was putting his shirt on – he said to her “wait, stop!” and she asked if she was hurting him. He said no, he didn’t want her to mess up his hair.
About 18 months after his accident his wife gave birth to their 3rd child. Together they exemplify what true marriage vows are about. Please check out the photo - it is amazing.
Jason survived his terrible accident and has approached his life with grace and dignity. He has a deep faith in God and knows God helped him through this. He says he would not change a thing about his life. He is happy and pain free.
I spoke with Jason after he gave his speech. I wanted to know if he knew a Tempe Police Officer whose life was saved by the same doctor who saved his life (he did). We talked about the Crown Vic – when I was Risk Manager at Tempe it was a topic of great concern with our police department. After I walked away I realized that when I was talking to him, I wasn’t looking at his scarred face – I was looking at his SOUL. He is the most amazing human being I have ever met in my life.
For more information on Jason’s story, here’s a link: