“You get to decide what your attitude is going to be.”—Jason Schechterle
June 12th, 2015 | top of page

I had the pleasure of hearing Jason Schechterle speak on June 11, 2015 at Phoenix Art Museum in an event hosted by Accelerent. Living in Phoenix in the spring of 2001, I was aware of the well-publicized tragedy that struck Jason on March 26th. What I was not prepared for was his inspiring story (filled with self-deprecating humor) of triumph over tragedy which is best summarized in a quote from Jason’s Beyond the Flames website: “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.”

If you’re not aware of Jason’s story here’s a summary taken from the program of the event.

“Growing up, Jason had one dream – to serve as a Phoenix Police Officer. Inspired by his brother and the tragic loss of a local law enforcement hero, Jason worked persistently towards his dream. After serving four years in the Air Force, at the age 26, Jason achieved his goal to work on the streets of Phoenix as a rookie police officer. Then, only 14 months into what was supposed to be a life-long career, Jason’s life took an unexpected, dramatic and, at the time, tragic turn.

On the night of March 26th, 2001, a taxi cab crashed into the rear of Jason’s patrol car. Upon impact, Jason’s car burst into flames, trapping him inside with temperatures reaching over 1200 degrees.

Through a series of miraculous and fateful circumstances, Jason survived the crash and ensuing physical and emotional catastrophe. He suffered severe burns to over 40% of his body which drastically altered his appearance. He has undergone more than 50 surgeries iust to have the ability to accomplish simple daily tasks we often take for granted.

Jason’s journey chronicles his fight for life, his triumph over tragedy and the inspiration that enables him to continue to overcome unimaginable adversity. His personal narrative exemplifies that the power of the human spirit can never be underestimated or extinguished. His story is also a testament of true love and the dedication Jason and his wife have in their commitment to honor their family and the vows of marriage in good times and bad.

His story is one of life, rebirth and transformation. Jason represents the human experience at its very best – an ascent from despair to describing himself as the luckiest person alive.”

Victor Allison & Jason Schechterle

When I met Jason I ironically discovered that he, like I, has a fear of dying in a fire. Had our life paths been interchanged, I wonder if I could have been as strong as he.

 

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