It is Tuesday morning. Warren Powell's 11:15 math class is just getting started. Teaching math has become second nature for Powell, but that was not always the case. In 1997 Powell was walking across Tyler's loop. It was an accident that would force him to leave sales and look for a new career.
But the "equation" of his life would not stop there... Three years later he would go through what he refers to now as the "big one."
"Time does slow down by the way," remembers Warren Powell. "Cause I was going about 50 (mph). I had time to look at the van, look at the driver and then I just said Jesus. I didn't scream, it wasn't a panic it was just like that."
It was on a slick interstate, Warren would lose control drive into the wrong lane. The crash sent his car into flames...and him into a coma that would last 48 days.
"Then 48 days later when I woke up at LSU in the burn unit. I knew I had to praise God," says Powell Then all I could say was just, Jesus, Jesus all over again. And actually when I started do that is when, I was flat on my back, tears started flowing and so it was then the nurse saw the tears coming from eyes and she knew I was awake so she went and got the doctors."
Doctors told Warren's family he would not survive. But he did. Then they were told it would take years of rehab...and he probably would not walk again. But they were wrong about that too.
The road to recovery though was not easy
"There were periods of time," says Powell, "I won't lie to you, there were periods of time that I thought oh poor me. Then I came back to the realization that I am alive, I am alive. When I came to the realization that I got out of the hospital and rehab in a wheelchair, again with the help of many friends and then I went to a walker and crutches and then a cane. And then the next one came."
The next one was late one night, car broken down, Warren was walking for help. A passing car never saw him on the side of the road. It came so close the rear view mirror struck Warren, breaking his ribs and rupturing his spleen.
"I hit and lay flat and watched the car go off in the distance and Clint I said, Lord I know I'm hurt again and I know its real bad. I ready to go, but I really want to stay. And about that time the brakes on the car," says Powell.
The car did come back and somehow found Warren lying in the grass. Doctors would later tell him internal bleeding would have taken his life if he had not been found.
Today Warren now shares his stories along with basic math principals to students at Tyler Junior College. Never a great math student himself, Warren has designed a curriculum to help students who struggle with math. It is a ministry, he says, that would have never happened if not for the pain of the past.
In addition to teaching, Warren and his wife, Mary Beth, who he met here on the TJC campus have just published a book of short encouraging stories.
He believes his life was saved for a simple purpose...to share the power of prayer in his life.
"But to come so close, and God's got me...to get my attention over and over and over He's got a plan for me to do something. The main thing is to tell people about how great He is. 6:16 I don't want to get it wrong. Its not because I deserve anything. You know. I had my problems and I still do," says Warren. "Being used by God is...I guess the most phenomenal thing there is. And its just...He is awesome. I get to tell people in way I couldn't in any other way I don't think, no other way."
Tuesday, May 21 2013 1:21 PM EDT2013-05-21 17:21:46 GMT
The same storm system that brought devastation to our north Sunday and Monday to Oklahoma and Kansas will affect East Texas later today with a threat of severe storms including tornadoes. ThunderstormsMore >>
Conditions are coming together that could lead to a significant severe weather outbreak across East Texas today. More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 12:15 PM EDT2013-05-21 16:15:40 GMT
Smith County Sheriff's Department responded a short time ago to a call from west Smith county.The call was in the 100 block of Patton Street, south of 64W. When deputies arrived, they say they were toldMore >>
Smith County Sheriff's Department responded a short time ago to a call from west Smith county.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 12:50 PM EDT2013-05-21 16:50:22 GMT
MOORE, OK (RNN) – In one of the few positive stories to come from the deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma, an elderly woman was reunited with a four-legged friend she thought was dead. Barbara Garcia, a residentMore >>
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As soon as I saw the tornado warnings on TV, I had to leave the office right away. I had photographed about a dozen tornados in my decade in Oklahoma and if I didn't get into my car before the funnel cloud swept...More >>
I left the office in Oklahoma City as soon as I saw the tornado warnings on TV. I had photographed about a dozen twisters in the past decade, and knew that if I didn't get in my car before the funnel cloud hit, it would...More >>