Paralyzed crash victim hopes to inspire others

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CAMBRIDGE CITY, Ind. (May 15, 2015) -- A man paralyzed in a car crash is thanking the community that came together for him, as he hopes to inspire others with his near-death experience.

Sitting in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down, "lucky" is the last word you'd expect to hear from Greg Callahan. Yet, it is the first word he's likely to mention.

"I'm lucky, yeah," Callahan said.

In March, the contractor was riding up north with his friend on a job. Their truck hit icy roads and ended up hitting a guardrail, rolling and sheering its top off with Callahan trapped.

"I remember the whole accident. I don't think I was knocked out, (but) I did close my eyes after a while," Callahan said.

He was rushed to the hospital, where he nearly lost his life twice. While he lay in a hospital bed, the New Castle community came together, placing donation boxes at local businesses to raise money for his recovery.

Amazingly, earlier this month, Callahan went home. He and his daughter Annette McKinney, along with her whole family, moved into a family home that is one story, allowing better access.

It included a ramp paid for by donations and the non-profit Hoosiers with Heart.

"I don’t know how to repay anybody. I don’t know what to tell them except thank you so much," Callahan said.

Time at home has allowed Callahan to reflect on what he calls a life-altering moment. He described a vision while he fought for his life, with his brother-in-law, father and what he now believes was a glimpse of heaven.

"They told me I wasn’t done here ... that I was not yet supposed to stay," Callahan said.

The experience not only brought Callahan to embrace religion, it also inspired him to share his story with others and work to help other accident victims remain positive during recovery.

"There’s nothing in the world you can stop from starting. Every day’s a new day," Callahan said. "I cry for joy, not for sorrow over what I've lost, because I've gained more than I've lost."

It is an attitude McKinney didn't quite expect from her father.

"He’s definitely more positive, has a better outlook on things. He’s thankful to be alive," McKinney said.

Callahan hopes to visit hospitals and spend time with patients who need help seeing the positive in their situations. He also hopes to walk again one day.

"Life is what you make it and if you lose something, you usually gain something else," Callahan said.

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