At the age of 17, Ben Pohl’s luck ran out within seconds when he became a distracted driver and totaled his blue Volkswagen beetle, ending up in a coma for a month.
Doctors were unsure whether or not Pohl would wake up from his coma. They weren’t sure if he could speak. They weren’t sure if he could carry on past 17 years. Six months after the incident, Pohl was discharged. To this day, at the age of 37, Pohl has daily reminders of his accident, living with a speech impediment and often unstable motor functions.
Pohl’s accident pushed him to live a life dedicated to living and to helping. “I feel like I owe something back to society,” said Pohl. “If I can make sure that this does not happen to at least one person, it’d be worth it. Although my life now is awesome, what I’ve been through is crushing.”
Giving back to society to Pohl came in many ways. Turning far away from his goal to be a lawyer, Pohl went to school for recreational therapy and ended up working with violent sex offenders at Statesville Prison. After his time at Statesville, Pohl joined the armed forces and went to Baghdad, and also worked as a government reconstruction consultant. He worked in the Peace Corps as a special education consultant in Jordan where he lived in a village of 1,000. Pohl now travels the area sharing his distracted driving story to civic organizations, clubs and schools.
At the age of 17, Pohl’s life had almost been over, but he would not have had it any other way. Because of his incident, Pohl flipped his entire life around. He is now an automotive student at COD as well as a motivational speaker.
Don’t miss the opportunity to hear so much more of Ben’s inspiring story at the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Naperville on Thursday, January 10, 2019.