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They Thought He was Dead. God said, 'Pray.'

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 “…Lord, what is going on? What do you want us to do? And He said, ‘Pray with hope.’”

On June 5th, 2017, firefighter Rick Ralls was making his morning rounds at Station 5 in Anchorage, Alaska, when he heard loud banging and then a thud on the ground. Shane Wescott was the first paramedic to attend to Ben, who remained unresponsive. “I would compare his condition to injuries incompatible with life at that time. Uh, that's the best way I know how to put it,” says Wescott.

Ben was immediately medevacked to Providence Hospital, where his parents, Joan and Jeff Schultz awaited news on his status. They were shocked Ben was taken into surgery at once where they discovered he had suffered Diffuse Axonal Injury, or DAI, the tearing of his brain’s nerve fibers. This is the most severe type of brain injury --- he had only a 10% chance of surviving. Ben’s primary care physician, Dr. Kathy Hurlburt of over 15 years, came along his family and spoke with the medical team. Hurlburt says, “From what they could tell on his exam, it was highly unlikely that he would survive very long.”

Ben’s father Jeff had a difficult time taking the news ---- he says, “I actually, I broke down and screamed because I couldn't believe that this was happening to Ben --- I was preparing myself for him not living.” Joan Schultz, his mother had a prayerful approach from the beginning. “I'm thinking, Lord, what is going on? What do you want us to do? And He said, ‘Pray with hope.’" 

With Ben still in surgery, Ben’s parents called their church family and friends to get a prayer chain going. Jeff transparently shares, “There were times where I was angry at God; I got tired of prayer because it was just like, what are we doing this for? But quite honestly, what really bolstered my hopes, was other people saying, 'we're praying for you, we're here for you.' That was a game changer, that brought life to me.”

After several hours, Ben came out of surgery stable, but in a vegetative state. A month later, he was transported to Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado, that has a team that specializes in traumatic brain injuries. For another three months, his family and friends stayed by his side, praying and hoping for a miracle. Ben lay in a coma, with no signs of recovering. Then, one day about three months after his accident, Ben unexpectedly awakens from his coma on his own, to his parents’ surprise. Although now awake, Ben’s future functionality was unknown. Ben would need several surgeries across his entire body and intensive rehab as he faced the reality of life in a wheelchair.

When he finally returned to Alaska and Station 5 after several months of intensive rehab, Ben miraculously walked in, unassisted. When asked about his recovery, his doctor says, “You just can't begin to comprehend what Ben has gone through when you see him today. A fully functional, normal, healthy, vibrant, bright young man.”

Ben, along with his family, continues to defy odds and recover more every day. Now married to Carly, he works in emergency management for the city of Anchorage. Jeff and Joan Schultz believe the power of God, working through a praying community, is the reason their son is the walking miracle he is today. “Keep hoping and keep praying. That’s our motto now. We prayed, others prayed, and we saw what God did,” says Joan.

When reflecting on his long journey of recovery, Ben had this to say: “I have gained a lot more insight into the, the strength and magnanimous power of our Heavenly Father. Even when all hope was lost and how lifeless I was at that time, God picked me up. Nothing is out of reach of His arm.”

Ben’s remarkable story has been covered by several news and media agencies in the Alaska area and is known for the unique and miraculous nature in its defiance of its medical prognosis. Ben’s parents, Jeff and Joan Schultz’s book, which includes their children’s life changing events and their own brushes with death, can be found at

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About The Author

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Kane Lewis

Kelly Kane Lewis joined CBN as a Features Producer after over 15 years in the Media, Film, and Live Entertainment industry as a producer, director, and as on-camera talent, most recently in the New York City metro region. She served as Associate Media Director for multisite megachurch Christ Church, in Northeast New Jersey where she produced several human impact stories. Kelly’s on-camera hosting talent can be found on such platforms as Lowe’s Home Improvement, Tidewater Community College, and Virginia Tourism. Kelly holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Regent University and is currently