Inspirational speaker, crash survivor inspires Coast Guard crew

Coast Guard District 7 NewsCLEARWATER, Fla. — Sarah Panzau, a two-time member of the National Junior College Athletic Association women’s volleyball All-America team, spoke to Coast Guard members during a ‘Safety Stand Down’ presentation about making smart choices in life, respecting others, and rising above disabilities at Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Tuesday.

Panzau knew what it was like to be on top of her game, and on top of the world. But, somewhere between life as a competitively driven high school athlete and the early years of college, Panzau began heading down a destructive path.

With a blood-alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit, Panzau decided to drive home drunk, but she missed a highway exit and rolled her car four times.

“My life changed forever when my car spun out of control,” said Panzau. “I wasn’t wearing my seat belt, and I was ejected through the rear window of my car, and my left arm was torn from my body as I was thrown onto the roadway.”

Panzau now dedicates herself to speaking with students and other groups about how her life was forever changed because of the poor decisions she made.

The Coast Guard routinely holds ‘Safety Stand Down’ training before the holidays to emphasis to the entire crew the importance of making smart decisions on and off duty.

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