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CANCELLED: Speaker to talk on the importance of safety awareness

Serious injuries can be avoided by practicing a mindful lifestyle

After+a+near-death+accident%2C+Gary+Norland+recognized+the+negative+impact+on+his+loved+ones+during+recovery.+As+a+result%2C+he+promotes+the+importance+of+awareness.
After a near-death accident, Gary Norland recognized the negative impact on his loved ones during recovery. As a result, he promotes the importance of awareness.

After a near-death accident, Gary Norland recognized the negative impact on his loved ones during recovery. As a result, he promotes the importance of awareness.

COURTESY OF JAMEY HIX

COURTESY OF JAMEY HIX

After a near-death accident, Gary Norland recognized the negative impact on his loved ones during recovery. As a result, he promotes the importance of awareness.

NINA WILLIS, Evergreen reporter

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UPDATE: This event has been cancelled.

A safety advocate will present at WSU this week, sharing his story about how accidents can happen to anyone, and to help them avoid his own mistakes.

After being electrified by a 200-amp, 12,500-volt power line in a life-altering accident in 1992, Gary Norland said he realized his injuries affected not only himself, but his friends, family and everyone around him.

“I was bullet-proof,” Gary said. “I could do anything, go anywhere, life was pretty easy. And one second later, it was a whole different story.”

He said most people only think about themselves, not their spouses, children or friends, when an accident happens. He added that nobody thinks it could ever happen to them.

Everyone can relate to this story in some way, Gary said. People can make the same mistakes and take the same shortcuts that can lead to accidents.
“I used to be the guy sitting in the audience listening to somebody else,” Gary said. “Usually it was a video, and I found that when you see a person right in front of you, hear the emotion in his voice, everybody can relate.”

Focusing on safety does not mean that people have to give up the things they love, Gary said. They can still do all the things they want to, as long as they take precautions.

Gary’s presentation, titled “The Impact of an Injury. What are you risking?” never differs much from place to place, he said. From NASA to utility companies, it applies to everyone with the same mindset Gary used to have.

“Washington is my backyard,” Gary said. “I have friends and family that work at WSU; I want family to be safe even more so.”

Jeanne Norland, Gary’s wife, said her husband’s accident changed their lives forever. She said the presentation serves to make safety a priority, and to avoid other families from going through the same thing.

“I try to present it in a fashion of ‘what would it be like if it happened to your family?’ ” Jeanne said. “Because when they hear us talk, they think, ‘that’s somebody else’s story’ and most of the time, people will make a change if they think of it as their story. Is that the story you want for your life?”

The message in the presentation relates to every aspect in your life, Jeanne said.

The presentation will take place at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in Beasley Coliseum. Admission is free.

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CANCELLED: Speaker to talk on the importance of safety awareness