A Car Crash That Took So Much Gave This Budding Puppeteer So Much More

A Car Crash That Took So Much Gave This Budding Puppeteer So Much More

Ani Hudgens and her passenger safety puppet, Becky Buckle-Up

Ani Hudgens (in pink) and her puppet, Becky Buckle-Up, after a presentation to children about passenger safety

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A car crash that took so much gave this budding #puppeteer so much more. http://bit.ly/1THcI1v #DailyPointofLight | via @PointsofLight
Friday, July 17, 2015 - 12:35pm

Meet Daily Point of Light Award honoree Ani Hudgens. Read her story and nominate an outstanding volunteer or organization as a Point of Light. 

A distracted driver changed Ani Hudgens’ life in an instant.

Five years ago, she was well into her career in corporate human resources, had two grown children and a tiny grandson, and had just met a new man, Chris. She ran triathlons and half marathons.

But one day while driving to work another driver veered into her lane and clipped her car, causing it to spin out of control and become airborne.

Thanks to her seatbelt, Hudgens, now 47, wasn't ejected from the vehicle. But she lost a substantial percentage of her hearing, suffered seizures and heart attacks, and struggled with limited mobility for three years.

Worst of all, her zest for life disappeared.

“I was in such a serious funk and I told Chris, `I need me back,’” she recalls. “He said, ‘You have a great story and a voice, sometimes a very loud one, to tell it with. Go do something about it!’”

Hudgens found her calling when she was back on the road and noticed a woman weaving while talking on her cell phone.

“Her little boy was in the back, in a car seat, but he wasn’t strapped in,” Hudgens says. “I was livid. Parents know what they’re supposed to do, but they don’t always do it. I thought if I could reach their children instead, they could become their conscience and I could make a real difference.”

Read more on the Points of Light blog.