In the early morning hours of Jan 18, 2016, Prospect Airport Services employees Felix Munoz and Chezray Young were involved in a high-speed car accident caused by a drunk driver. Chezray was driving in Tempe, Arizona with his passenger Felix when a drunk driver, traveling 70 mph in a 40 mph zone, rear-ended Chezray’s vehicle, sending it out of control. Chezray and Felix were transported to the hospital following a long extrication process. Chezray died at the hospital from massive chest injuries. Felix was in critical condition and in a coma for approximately four weeks. He had a severe traumatic brain injury with diffuse axonal injury. He also had a broken sternum, scapula, rib fractures and experienced acute respiratory failure requiring tracheostomy.
His injuries were so severe, doctors never expected him to regain consciousness. Through the help of a great team of medical professionals, Felix did regain consciousness, underwent surgeries and began extensive rehabilitation.
Felix was in two different hospitals for his rehabilitation and was discharged from Barrows Neurological Center April 1st. After his discharge he received more therapies focusing on addressing mood and coping, cognitive compensatory strategies, and skills need to be successful with completing high school and returning to work. In December 2016 Felix was able to receive his high school diploma as well as earn Honor Roll.
Felix was able to return back to work at Prospect Airport Services as a PSA and was quickly promoted to a lead and is now a supervisor. During the whole time of his recovery, the rehabilitation organization “Rehab without Walls” worked closely with Barb Lynd, Prospect Phoenix General Manager and Marques Johnson, Prospect Phoenix Duty Manager. Barb and Marques worked closely with “Rehab without Walls” with the overall goal of getting Felix healthy and back to work for Prospect at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
On September 28th, 2017 Felix Munoz was presented with the 4th Annual Vocational Rehabilitation TBI & SCI Inspire Award. (TBI: Traumatic Brain Injury, SCI: Spinal Cord Injury). At a banquet and ceremony, the award was presented by Kristen Mackey, representing Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, along with Shannon Carter, Executive Director of the AZ Spinal Cord Injury Association and Carrie Collins-Fadell, Executive Director of the Brain Injury Alliance of AZ.
Also honored at the Awards Banquet was Prospect Airport Services with the Employer Award, presented for the company’s conscientious support and dedication to Prospect employees. The award states, “You make our community stronger. To be inspired is great. To inspire is incredible”.
Felix stated, “I want to thank Vicki (Strobel), Larry (Massaro), Barb (Lynd) and the Prospect Family on behalf of my family for everything the company did for us on that tragic day. We are forever grateful and honored to have such a company like Vicki’s to be apart of.”
Maria Casas, Felix’s mother said, “We haven’t had a chance to thank Prospect for becoming part of our family and turning this tragic event into a lifetime of meaningful relationships. We will be forever grateful to Barb and Marques especially for continually reaching out to us to ensure we didn’t need anything. I love seeing Felix going to work everyday excited to see how he can become great.”
Prospect President and CEO Vicki Strobel thanked Felix’s medical, rehab and support team along with Prospect’s management team at Phoenix. “I am proud of the dedication of our people and their incredible support given to Felix as he recovered from his devastating injuries. We are very proud of his incredible accomplishments,” Strobel said. “This exemplifies the strong culture of caring that is part of the Prospect family.”
Felix continues to be youth leader at his church, enjoys working out, and has lost 60 pounds since his discharge. He just bought a bicycle to continue to stay active.
“We are thankful for Felix, his doctors and nurses, the rehab team and the Prospect family for the many positive outcomes of a truly tragic situation” said Strobel. “During this time of year, we wish our air transportation partners, employees and their families, and our customers a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving.”