WACO, Texas (KWTX) A local firefighter paralyzed in a freak off-duty accident is being honored in a big way by fellow firefighters statewide.
Garth Goodwin has been chosen as the guest of honor and beneficiary of The Colbert Project Firefighter’s Ball, a ball put on in North Texas by a nonprofit named in honor of a Garland firefighter paralyzed in a car accident in 2012.
"After Garth's injury, nominations on his behalf flooded our inbox,” said Emily Colbert, President of the Colbert Project and wife to the injured Dallas-area firefighter.
Goodwin was paralyzed after falling from a billboard on May 10 in McGregor when a metal pole came into contact with a powerline.
Since then, the community has rallied around the firefighter and his family, even organizing efforts to build him a new wheelchair-accessible home.
The Colbert Project non-profit was formed following a devastating off-duty accident when Garland firefighter Devon Colbert was paralyzed in 2012 following a car accident in Rockwall.
Colbert was the first recipient of the Firefighter’s Ball and since that time the non-profit has chosen one firefighter across the state in need of financial assistance because of illness or off-duty injury.
When the group read Garth Goodwin’s story, it was an easy choice.
“We also know first-hand how a spinal cord injury affects not only the one hurt, but everyone around as well. My husband suffered a spinal cord injury 4 1/2 years ago, so Garth's story really struck home for us. The decision was easy to make,” Emily Colbert said.
Goodwin was nominated by around a dozen people, many fellow firefighters. It’s the most nominations the group has ever had for any one person.
“It was easy to tell that he is highly regarded by the men and women who surround him,” she said.
Waco firefighter Jay Jeffrey was one of the many who nominated Goodwin.
He serves on “Engine 9” with the injured firefighter in Waco.
“When we learned of this opportunity and after some research, we knew we needed to nominate Garth,” Jeffrey said.
Jeffrey says the entire department was overjoyed when they learned Garth would be the guest of honor at the black-tie event.
“Happiness doesn’t quite describe how we felt. This is such a blessing and will go a long way in helping Garth and Lisa with the challenges they are now facing.”
“The Colbert Project’s slogan is “no brother battles alone” They have proven that these are not just words.”
The Ball will take place on Aug. 12 at the Hilton Dallas/Rockwall Lakefront hotel.
Tickets may be purchased online.