Eagle Rare Life Award Nominee

David Hartsock

Date Added

October 16th, 2014







The voting for the contest is closed

“David is a Tandem Skydiving Instructor who saved the life and limb of his student by placing his body between his student and the earth when both parachutes malfunctioned.”

On August 1, 2009 David Hartsock became a quadriplegic. His injury is classified by the American Spinal Cord Injury Association (ASIA) as A-Complete. Simply put, he is paralyzed from the chest down with no chance of ever recovering any functional use of his arms or legs. How he became a quadriplegic is the very reason we're trying to help him.

David was working as a tandem skydiving instructor at Skydive Houston in Houston Texas. While making a tandem skydive with his student Shirley, both parachutes malfunctioned. As he and Shirley plummeted towards the ground David found himself in a unique situation. Should he try to save his life, or the life of his student?

David was able to shift their positions so that his body would land beneath hers, essentially becoming a human cushion to soften her impact. Shirley sustained serious injuries but was able to walk to the ambulance and later returned to work. David was not so lucky. He sustained numerous life threatening injuries and had to be Life-Flighted to Memorial Hermann hospital.

He spent 6 months in various ICU units of hospitals and rehab facilities before returning to his home. Since returning home he has had to spend all of his savings on caregivers. The State will only pay caregivers to come to the house for 42 hours a week. That amounts to 6 hours a day per week. The other 18 hours per day (126 hours a week) he must pay for out of pocket himself.

To pay for his care David has sold most of his belongings. His mother has even had to sell her home in order to help pay for his care. We are trying to keep him out a nursing home because they cannot provide the kind of 24 hour care David needs.