Deputy Sheriff Dan Hodess was off duty and on his way to work on April 5, 1998, when he spotted a stranded motorist on I-95 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. He could have passed her by, but chose to pull his cruiser over to help. Moments later, another car hit him, pinning him between the two vehicles, and the 61-mph impact instantly cost him both legs. In that moment, Hodess went from Good Samaritan to a double amputee whose life was saved only by emergency help from passing medical personnel also on their way to work that morning.
The months following the accident were ones of therapy and adjustment to life with two prosthetic legs. With his spirit of never giving in, Hodess has fought to live a normal life. Now, with a scholarship from Able Flight, he will take on another challenge, that of fulfilling his long-held ambition of becoming a pilot.
Hodess is the first person to be awarded the Bombardier-Able Flight Scholarship, recognizing Bombardier’s continued support of Able Flight’s mission. “We are pleased to work with Bombardier to create this opportunity for Dan as it recognizes his determination to continue to rebuild his life and to inspire others by doing so,” said Charles Stites, executive director of Able Flight. “And, it honors the generous support and community service of Bombardier, one of Able Flight’s valued collaborators in fulfilling its mission.”
“Bombardier is proud to contribute to what we believe is a very worthy cause,” said Brant Dahlfors, vice president, US sales, Bombardier Business Aircraft. “As an aircraft manufacturer we are passionate about aviation, and we are happy to be working with an educational organization like Able Flight which helps us share that passion with others. We commend Dan for his bravery and perseverance and maybe one day we’ll see him behind the yoke of a Bombardier aircraft.”
Able Flight, a national nonprofit that provides flight training opportunities for people with physical disabilities, is the only one of its kind in the United States. Since 2006 it has awarded 26 scholarships. For more information: AbleFlight.org.