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Jason SchechterleI am honored and fortunate to be around heroes on a somewhat regular basis, both professionally and personally, whether it’s a business event, family gathering or social outing.

These are people who run TOWARD danger and put their life on the line to help others.

A few years ago at an Entrepreneurs’ Organization event, I had the opportunity to meet former U.S. Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell, who, at the time, was discussing his experiences and book, Lone Survivor.

At an Accelerent breakfast event several months ago, former New York City Fire Department Chief Richard Picciotto,  the highest-ranking firefighter to survive the World Trade Center collapse on 9/11, shared his story and talked about his book, Last Man Down.

In “Who is Gym?” I’ve written about a number of heroes, including Congressional Medal of Honor recipients United States Marine Corps Col. Jay R. Vargas and Chief William Alchesay of the White Mountain Apache Tribe. And I feel like I know former U.S. Navy Seal Chris Kyle after watching the movie “American Sniper.”

Recently, at another Accelerent event, former Phoenix Police Officer Jason Schechterle shared his incredible story.

In 2001, a taxi cab crashed into the rear of Schechterle’s patrol car. Upon impact, his car burst into flames, resulting in severe burns to over 40 percent of his body, including fourth-degree burns to his face which drastically altered his appearance.  Quite frankly, Schechterle should have never survived.  Since then, he’s undergone more than 50 surgeries. The entire story is available in Burning Shield: The Jason Schechterle Story.

His personal narrative exemplifies that the power of the human spirit can never be underestimated or extinguished.  His story is one of life, rebirth and transformation.  His closing remarks were:

“The one true blessing we have, the one thing we have control of, is our attitude. It’s the only thing you have control of, every single day, every situation. You get to decide what your attitude is going to be. I would not trade places with any one of you.” 

Believe me – it was an “oh wow, misty-eyed” moment.

Here are some of my top places to connect with heroes and support their efforts:

What would you add to the list?

Scott Hanson
Scott Hanson
President Scott is president of HMA Public Relations and a founding member of the Public Relations Global Network. He’s a Phoenix native, husband, father of two and a fan of all sports and a participant in some. Check out Scott's full bio

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