kesslerKessler Foundation announces that Charles Fleisher, member of the Foundation’s New Jersey-based ThinkFirst Chapter, (pictured right) recently won the national ThinkFirst VIP of the Year Award in recognition of his dedication to injury prevention. The Foundation adds that the presentation of the award to Fleisher marks the first year that an individual from New Jersey has earned VIP of the Year.

Fleisher’s award comes as a nod to his work in educating students about the potential consequences of risky behaviors, the Foundation says. Fleisher reportedly received the award April 24 at the ThinkFirst Awards Luncheon in New Orleans, La.

“To share my experience for the benefit of young people is a great opportunity,” Fleisher says, “Being recognized by the national organization of ThinkFirst gives me an incredible feeling of accomplishment.”

The Foundation reports that Fleisher was paralyzed by a spinal cord injury (SCI) at age 18 in 1988, following a car accident in which he was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle. After each presentation, Fleisher emphasizes to students the importance of buckling their seatbelt, wearing a helmet, using caution while driving, and the risks of driving under the influence or with someone under the influence.

Fleisher adds that, “Being able to use the consequences of my injury to influence the decision-making of children and young adults is a great feeling. If I can prevent future spinal cord injuries—that is a worthy life’s work.”

A Foundation news release notes that Fleisher also owns a small health care agency and works with the organization Friends Overcoming Adversity, which promotes sports and recreation for individuals with disabilities. Fleisher also offers personal mentoring and coaching, as well as teleseminars to hospitals and individuals with SCIs, designed to facilitate adjustment to living with SCI. Fleisher recently released a book showcasing opportunities that can rise from life’s greatest challenges, titled The Secret of Difficulties: 4 Steps to Turn Tragedies into Opportunities.

Photo Credit: Kessler Foundation

Source: Kessler Foundation