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Luckiest Hoosier Alive

Double the Trouble, Twice the Luck

Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing We’ve all had bad days, but Carmel resident Gerald Miller may well take the prize for the worst one yet. In fact, all his trouble happened in the span of just a few short hours back in October 1982. Miller, 30 years old at the time, was on active duty in the Navy, stationed as a pharmacist on board the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy. The aircraft carrier was undergoing refitting in the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia, when he made plans to go visit a friend in Norfolk. He hopped in his Chevy Vega and ...

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Butterfly Blast

September’s Luckiest Hoosier Alive: James Thompson Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing In 1971, Carmel resident James Thompson was in Vietnam where he was assigned as an adviser to the field maintenance unit of the Vietnamese Air Force division. The Chinook helicopter rotor blades were made of a composite sandwich material that was a fiberglass over a honeycomb and it had the bad habit of unbonding. Though they had a test set to check for issues, it often went on the fritz. One day, Thompson was tasked with finding a helicopter pilot to fly the test set from Bien Hoa Air Base ...

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Down But Not Out

August’s Luckiest Hoosier Alive: Erika Mulroney Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing Erika Mulroney had just finished facilitating a class at her church on the evening of June 2, 2016, when she turned down a back hallway of the church, blacked out, and collapsed, face-first, on the floor. Because of the layout of the building, her body was out of the line of sight for most anyone who happened by. Thankfully, a security guard (a person there to lock up) used the restroom near that hallway. When he saw Erika, he immediately rushed to her side, checked for a pulse and panicked. ...

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Real-life Good Luck Charm

Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing July’s Luckiest Hoosier Alive: Jason Hoard “I’m that guy where puzzling meets unbelievable,” says Jason Hoard, a postal service employee and father of four who seems to be a real-life good luck charm. Back in 2005, Hoard struggled in his attempt at purchasing a scratch-off lottery ticket. “I had no idea what I was doing,” says Hoard, a resident of Avon. “After putting $20 in one of the machines and expecting change, I finally figured it out.” Days later, he saw a picture of the $1 million lotto winner and recognized the face as the guy ...

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A Lucky Accident

June’s Luckiest Hoosier Alive: Dave Hawkins Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing On December 5, 2012, Dave Hawkins, a CPA, had just finished a grueling two-day tax seminar when he got into his car to head home. “It was dark, but the roads were dry,” Hawkins says. “I remember looking up and seeing this car going off the road.” Before he had time to process what was happening, Hawkins’ vehicle collided, head-on, with the other. Though he was fortunate to not sustain internal bleeding or severe injuries, he suffered six broken ribs — a pain so searing that Hawkins likens it to ...

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Ducking Death & Loving Life

May’s Luckiest Hoosier Alive: Jeff Hull Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing They say “third time’s a charm,” and that’s certainly the case for Jeff Hull, who has cheated death twice and now has been named May’s Luckiest Hoosier Alive by Hoosier Park Casino. It was 2014 when Hull started experiencing flu-like symptoms that wouldn’t subside. After enduring multiple digestive problems that landed him in the hospital twice, he traveled to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore for further evaluation. “They tore me apart,” says Hull, noting that he had pancreas problems, an enlarged spleen and a liver that was being destroyed by cirrhosis ...

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Luckiest Hoosier Alive Beats Three Brain Tumors

Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing In March 2016, Leah Blackford was playing cards with her family and husband, Chris, when suddenly she threw the deck across the table, went stiff as a board and stopped moving. At first Chris thought she was joking around. When she didn’t respond, however, he began to panic. Thirty seconds later, Leah’s eyes popped open, though they were unfocused, and she seemed disoriented. “I don’t remember any of it, but apparently for 30 minutes I was asking a bunch of strange and repetitive questions,” Leah says. Chris insisted they go to the hospital. The ER team ...

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