SURVIVOR THANKS FIREFIGHTERS 1

Donald Woodward thanked first responders for saving his life 40 years ago.

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Forty years to the day he survived a horrific car crash, a Valley man wants to say thank you. He went back to the fire station near the scene, even though the same first responders who helped him are long retired. And he showed his gratitude with the universal food that people can bond over - pizza.

"I thought, 'I'm coming up on 40 years. I've always wanted to do something. What can I do?'" said Donald Woodard.

On Feb. 17, 1979, he was hit by a drunk driver when he was on his motorcycle near 18th and Grand avenues.

"My jaw was broken in eight places. My lip was sliced open," Woodard said.

First responders weren't sure he'd make it. But four decades later, he's got quite the surprise.

"My wife and I said, 'Well, everybody likes pizza' and I said, 'Well, let me call and see if I can bring them some pizza,'" Woodard said.

SURVIVOR THANKS FIREFIGHTERS 2

He brought them pizza.

Who could say no to that? On Sunday, Woodard delivered.

"What I wanted to do is simply say, 'Hey, I know what you guys do and I can't do much, but I want to say thank you,'" Woodard said.

"It's a real enjoyment for us to see how our actions and what we do day in and day out affect people for that long period of time," said Danny Gile with the Phoenix Fire Department.

He admits he wasn't even born yet at the time at the time of Woodard's accident. But he's truly touched because they rarely get to see the outcomes of the people they help every day.

"It reaffirms for me, reaffirms for all our us that we're in the right profession. We're making a true impact on people's lives. That's what we all strive to do, what we got into this career for," Gile said.

"We should be saying thank you, thank you for your service, thanks for what you do," Woodard said.

Award-winning journalist Lindsey Reiser is a regular contributor in the evenings on CBS 5 News at 10 p.m.
 
 


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