HATTIESBURG, MS. - The survivor of a drunk driving accident is FOX 23's Kindness in Action recipient this week. Dwight Owens, 35, travels on the local and national level as a motivation speaker, hoping to give others a ray of hope.
In 2005 Owens was a former teacher and high school football coach on his way to school when a 72-year-old drunk drive rear ended him on Highway 84. The accident left Owens paralyzed from the waist down.
“They found my torso on the floor of the car and my legs wrapped around the steering wheel, I coded instantly" says Owens.
Owens says he literally died that day. Doctors even say he was not supposed to survive the accident. “I died that day and a miracle happened in the hospital" he says.
Owens beat death and was briefly on life support. He was in the hospital for a year recovering. When he first woke up, Owens found out he could not walk. The accident left Owens in a wheelchair.
He says, “I am only one life, it help me take life more seriously and stop taking things for granted, we all die, the goal is not to live forever the goal is to create something that will.”
Owens decided to help others. He became a motivational speaker and author of an inspirational book Still Standing. "So many people angry, so many people depressed, drugs and alcohol paralyze people.” Although he is paralyzed, Owens did not quit. He has shared his story with countless audiences across the country.
He talks at many events about the importance of living and repercussions of drunk driving.
Owens says, “I wanted to just get involved in helping other people defeat their wounds that lead to depression, defeat their wounds that lead to drugs and alcohol and anger and all of that stuff.” In 2011 Owens was given the National Spirit of Service Award presented by Al Roker. He also received the Cabot Creamery award for volunteer service.
According to Owens he wants people to take one thing away from his speeches: value. “Value as I said before so many people are paralyzed and don’t even know it without being in a wheelchair.”
Owens currently works with Life of Mississippi which is an organization that empowers those with significant disabilities to become independent.