Second chance

They say God works in his mysterious ways. Sixteen-year-old James Hogan had no idea God was about to intervene in his life. He’d dropped out of school a few weeks earlier to have a job delivering pizzas. Described by his teachers and employers as a courteous, hard worker, James just couldn’t seem to handle the psychological pressures of adolescence. His life was going nowhere fast despite the silent prayers of his mother. 

Always conscientious, James delivered pizzas hot from the oven until the day, on the way taking pizzas to the customer, he saw the back of a Cadillac sinking. The car was going down fast with an elderly man inside. Without hesitation, James leaped into the water. Trapped inside was the Reverend Max Kelly. He was unconscious. James, standing on the back of the car, saw that a rear window had somehow opened. So, he tried his best to pull the elderly man out and bring him to shore. 

After the rescue, the police offered James a ride home. But he declined, stating that he had his truck to drive and pizza to deliver. Ever conscientious, he did ask them to radio the restaurant to notify his customers that their pizzas would be a little late and a little cold. 

In December of 1995, James Hogan was awarded the Carnegie Medal for the heroism which included $2,500, and a scholarship. James says the incident has changed his life. Just two weeks before the accident, he had held the gun, which his father left, to his head wanting to die. He wouldn’t have been there to save the Reverend’s life had the gun not jammed. 

His mother’s prayers answered James is back in school, not only taking extra classes to catch up with his classmates but also practicing for the baseball team. A huge public outpouring of love and support has given him a renewed meaning and purpose and a well-earned second chance. 

You never know what happiness a simple act of kindness will bring about.

- Bree Abel

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