The day that changed Hal's life
Hal woke up early on July 26th, 2007 to drive a load of remodel supplies in a semi-truck to crews working in Las Vegas, NV. As he passed the Barstow area on I-15, he noticed an object on the road in the distance. As he got closer, he could tell that it was a large piece of tire tread in his path. Hal veered to the right shoulder to avoid it but lost control of the truck while correcting to come back on to the road.
The truck rolled four times before coming to a stop. Hal was trapped in the crushed cab for 40 minutes before being airlifted by Life Flight to Arrowhead Regional Hospital in Colton, CA.
Hal broke his neck, broke his scapula – there was tendon damage to his right shoulder. He fractured T1-2 Vertebrae – with the most damaging injury to the Spinal Cord at the C5/C6 level.
Arrowhead Regional performed an eight-hour surgery in order to install permanent plates/screws on the front and back of his neck. He remained at Arrowhead Regional for several weeks battling a strong case of pneumonia and a collapsed lung well.
Hal was then cared for at Casa Colina, a fantastic facility where he spent 63 days as an Acute Patient. After this, Hal was released to Outpatient Recovery.
How Hal found hope
During Hal’s time at Casa Colina, he had a lot to process. Everything had changed.
Before this accident, Hal was a very ordinary young man. He had recently graduated high school where he was pitching an 83mph fastball on the baseball team and benching 315lbs with friends. With plans to attend Long Beach University, Hal was spending his summer reaching new goals like landing a backflip on a wakeboard.
Now, he had to grapple with the flood of implications of paralysis.
The doctors said there was a 1-3% chance that he would ever walk again. Despite this news, Hal’s emotional and mental outlook was strong. This was due to one single line of thinking Hal carried with him that made the future feel brighter – he could still “be perfect”. Inspired by the movie Friday Night Lights, the idea was that if you could look the people you love in the eye and tell them that you did absolutely everything you could – gave every ounce you had – then it didn’t matter whether you won or lost. Hal realized that he could “be perfect” whether or not he ever walked another day in his life. He just had to concretely resolve concretely to pursue his personal health and recovery as far as possible.
Hal met other paralysis patients in similar situations with the same goal. Men and women who were determined to pursue recovery and restoration no matter what. But they had a problem – their medical insurance only covered therapy with the goal of maintaining their condition. What they wanted was therapy that had the goal of reversing and redeeming their condition. They wanted to do basic things again like drive, take a shower on their own, or make sandwiches for their children’s lunch-boxes. And they were willing to fight for it. They didn’t want to sit on the sidelines the rest of their lives – they wanted to get back in the game.
Be Perfect is born
THIS INSPIRED HAL TO CREATE BE PERFECT – AN ORGANIZATION THAT CONNECTS TWO GROUPS OF PEOPLE STRIVING TO “BE PERFECT”.
The first group are paralysis patients wanting to get back in the game of life without the financial means to do so. The second group are community members wanting to use their resources in a meaningful way. Hal knew that right here in the San Gabriel Valley there were individuals who wanted to “be perfect” – to know without a doubt they had used their resources in a way that tangibly changed the lives of people who needed help.
Together these two groups of people make up Team Be Perfect – a team of people committed to making their lives count.
In the last 7 years, we’ve watched this team grow larger than Hal ever dreamed. Today, this team continues to gain strength and helps to create more hope and wellness every day. But don’t just take our word for it – go read their stories here. And if you’re interested in joining the team of amazing people making this possible – we’d love to have you along for the ride. We sincerely believe that no matter where you’re at in life you have what it takes to “Be Perfect”.