Plane Crash Survivor: 'You Can Never Get Past the Past if You're Living It'

Pete and Judy DeChat (Facebook/Pete DeChat)

Pete DeChat is a 21st-century Job. On July 10, 2007, a NASCAR plane crashed into his neighbor's home, killing a young mother and her son, and both pilot and passenger in the plane. The fuel tank broke loose from the plane, crashed into Pete's home and exploded. His 4-year-old daughter, Gabi, died, and in trying to rescue her, Pete was burned on 96% of his body. He was comatose for five months, during which time his then-wife left him for another life partner.

Everyone said he would not live. They said he would not see. They said he would not walk.

They were wrong.

One of the Most Impacting Moments in Angela's Conversation With Pete

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"When we're talking about someone who is suffering, first of all, it's valid, and it's understandable for you to grieve, mourn, whatever it is. That's allowable. But you never can get past the past if you're always living it. It's good to use it, kind of the way you use your platform now and the things you've gone through, and the way I'm using my platform, the things I've gone through," DeChat says on the Make Life Matter podcast on the Charisma Podcast Network. "But it's not good to let it hold you hostage. So it can be your greatest strength or your greatest weakness—but that's up to you. The saying goes ... 'Ten percent of life is what happens to you, and 90% is how you deal with it. You have to change your perspectives, or what you focus on. It's all a choice of whether to be miserable or to see it as joy.'"

Click here to listen to the entire conversation, titled "Defy the Odds With Plane Crash Survivor Pete DeChat."

A part of Angela's Hometown Heroes series, Pete DeChat is the author of Through the Fire—The True Story of a 21st-Century Job. He is married to Judy and the father of Beka, who is a delight. Pete's story has inspired thousands of people in various countries. For speaking inquiries and to purchase his book, visit or email

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