Crashes and Catastrophes to Glory and Gold: Noam Gershony

[ot-caption title=”Israeli and motivational speaker, Noam Gershony, speaking to the Upper School students on Thursday, September 3, 2015 in Stacy Auditorium. (via Brittany Shore, Junior)”]

Imagine being in a crash and not knowing if you could walk again let alone wake up.  Would you dare to attempt to retrain your body or be too scared to fail? Native Israeli, Noam Gershony, spoke to the Pine Crest Upper School students Thursday, September 3, 2015 in the Stacy Auditorium and shared his incredible story that inspired the entire audience. Even though Gershony’s presentation was toward the end of the day, when it’s harder for students to focus, his heart-warming and motivational story kept everyone tuned in and on the edge of their seats. He is an intelligent, encouraging, and determined role model with an inspiring outlook on life that everyone should try to strive for. Through his humorous anecdotes and relatable personality, Noam Gershony left an everlasting impact on the student body and faculty.

Born in Israel, Gershony grew up knowing that one day he would join the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) when he turned eighteen years old; he never expected to become an Apache helicopter pilot. Back in 2006 when Gershony was out on a mission with his copilot, his helicopter collided with another Apache at 6000 feet airborne. While the other helicopter was able to make an emergency crash landing, sparing the passengers from severe injuries, Gershony’s helicopter was not as lucky and unfortunately crashed. Sadly, this brutal crash took the life of Gershony’s copilot and almost his own; Gershony, however, beat the odds and survived this horrible event.

A week after the incident, Gershony woke up in the hospital without a clue as to what had happened. Thinking it may have been a car crash, he was shocked and devastated when he realized what really occurred, but his family and friends were relieved that he survived.  After six months of hospitalization and a year and a half of rehabilitation, Gershony got back to accomplishing his goals and decided to cut back on excuses. With a determined tone, he mentioned to the PC students that it is pointless to worry about what was lost, because you can’t get it back, and it is better to focus on what you do have. Gershony lost his ability to walk with one of his legs, but he didn’t let that stop him from doing all of the things he loved in life.

Gershony quickly revealed his humorous side when he started to show the audience videos and pictures of him waterskiing, cycling, and skiing; he laughed off all his falls and hardships and showed that it was all about getting back up and trying again. Out of the many sports that he retaught himself how to play, Gershony loved tennis, well wheelchair tennis that is. The more he played and competed, the more he achieved. Eventually, Gershony went on to play in London, England, at the 2012 Paralympics, where he won a gold medal. He said that winning was “a great souvenir; it is one step of the road.” With a grin from ear to ear, Gershony accepted his gold medal, marking the first win for Israel ever at the ParaOlympics. He showed the Pine Crest Upper School this video of him accepting his medal, which gave many students the chills as they watched the tears stream down his face.

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmbjEG9K5io” width=”720″ height=”440″]

Gershony then gave some words of advice for Pine Crest students. One of his main points included believing in yourself, where Gershony shared, “People have more strength than they believe.” In addition, he told students to stop making excuses, try everything, and not to limit oneself because of friends or because one is too lazy to try.

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Eager students stayed after Gershony’s presentation to ask him questions and thank him for his time. (via Brittany Shore, Junior)

At the end of Gershony’s interview, he stated, “I am just happy that I got the chance to speak with you guys, and you don’t have to take everything but just the main things, and try to do more.” 

Not only is Gershony an avid tennis player and viewer, but he also volunteers with teenagers who are at risk in one of Israel’s major cities, Tel Aviv. According to Gershony, he grew up with all the necessary resources at his fingertips, so he felt it was his duty to give back to children who did not have this advantage. He teaches math to them to help build self-confidence and gives them a foundation to succeed in life.  This man truly touched the hearts of all Pine Crest students, and changed the way that many students think about their own lives.  No one will forget this amazing experience, and everyone walked out of Stacy Auditorium grateful for what they have rather than “what is lost,” as Noam Gershony would put it.