Joel shares such an impactful and moving story, that I found myself tearing up during the interview a few times. Tissue alert, he was only 5 years old when he slipped from a train trestle and somehow escaped death. Joel was truly given a second chance at life and how grateful am I. Today he helps thousands of people Relaunch their life with confidence.
Joel’s Life Today
Joel and his wife co-host together Relaunch. They do daily shows throughout the week. They bring in the hottest and in-demand authors. They share inspiring ideas and practical steps to help people set themselves up and get ready for their own relaunch.
Joel’s parents separated when he was 3 years old. He lived with his mom and spent weekends and holidays with his dad.
When he was 5, his dad took him hiking in the Texas hill country. He wandered off with the other kids and started their own hike. They climbed to the top of a cliff and found a bridge.
At 5, the bridge represented a jungle gym. He walked to the middle of the bridge with the other kids. They laid down on their stomachs and called to their dad’s below.
Joel doesn’t remember, but the bridge started shaking and a whistle sounded. It was a train trestle. The train has screeched to a halt, and Joel was nowhere to be found.
He was laying in a pile of his own blood on the jagged rocks on the bottom. Through heroic and divine intervention, they were able to get him to the hospital.
I asked him if this experience had any impact on his religious beliefs later?
Yes, he tells me, he knows it was divine intervention that he survived. He had three skull fractures, he is very comfortable knowing that.
He had a Christian upbringing and fell away for a while after. He drifted away like a lot of teenagers and young adults sometimes do. He found his way back to church and renewed his relationship with Christ and with God.
He invited his dad to go back with him, and he accepted his invitation. It was another chapter in the bond and growing.
After Effects and Inside the Experience
He lost so much blood his veins collapsed, they couldn’t start a vein. Joel was in a coma for 3 weeks, during his 6th birthday. He was in hospital for about 6 weeks.
When he woke up his family was there and he started talking. It was a tremendous occasion because the doctors had told his family he was done for.
His family was there the whole time. His mom, every minute that she could be. His dad had just started a brand new job, and was trying to support and rebuild, and kept it. They worked out a wonderful system so that someone was always there, his mom, dad, and grandparents.
Joel is not sure if he really remembers or not, but there was a lot of love, prayers, and people who came. There is a list of people who donated blood, goes on and on. He needed a lot of blood and it was in short supply.
Joel wrote a book that shares this experience called, “Finding your voice.”
When he was 6, his parents were distraught, no money, living off food stamps and 100 dollar a month gift from a family member. His mom was working to get her nursing certification when his accident happened.
Joel didn’t have life insurance at 5. The medical bills were astronomical. There were so many specialists, hospital bills, on and on and on.
The recovery was amazing. He remembers bits and pieces of it. Doctors were completely surprised at the bounce back that this poor little kid made, that was carrying the black ink of a death sentence.
Joel’s wife Pei, of 13 years, told him that because the doctors put in the reports that he wouldn’t be normal, and couldn’t do this or that, it motivated him to prove everyone wrong!! He thought about it and said she is right!
Today he is determined and persistent in everything he does, not just to get by but to kill it!! His book was a bestselling book in three categories the same day, his podcast did fantastic, he has always been the person to defy the odds.
Book Recommendations and Parting Words
Joel thinks there is a need for people to be open, to be transparent about their past experiences and see the lessons there. The learning points need to be harnessed, because fair or unfair, ugly or pretty, there are lessons. So don’t hide what you have been through, share it, explore it and learn from it.
Hope, Healing, and Encouragement is the vision Joel has for his shows and sharing his experience with us. He hopes it will give encouragement for others to share.