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Drafting Student Overcomes Odds To Qualify For National Contest
By Kera Mashek
April 23, 2014


DUNBAR, W.Va. (Kera Mashek) David Milhorn knows he is lucky to be alive. In 2005, he fell from a roof, hattering bones from head to toe. He's undergone a series of surgeries and now has a rod in his leg, metal plate in his head, and screws in his chin and both wrists.

"Doctors didn't, they didn't give me a one percent chance that I could live," Milhorn said.

The injuries were so crippling that Milhorn endured extensive therapy and wasn't able to continue his coursework at Ben Franklin School for almost five years. But he never lost faith, and even credits a rosary with saving his life. He carried it with him during every operation and has prayed with it every night. It was given to him by a priest and was once blessed by Poe John Paul II. Those are signs Milhorn says that a higher power has been at work all along..to get him back on track.

"I'm just doing God's plan," said Milhorn.

Right before his accident, Milhorn qualified for a Skills USA national competition, and he was determined to recover, get back to school, qualify for that contest again, and actually be able to compete in it.
Today he's proud to say: mission accomplished!

"I love working. It's not like a job to me," Milhorn said.

Using a computer program and 3D printer, he created several objects, and a job skills demonstration that won him a state championship this spring and the right to compete at nationals. But Milhorn is pretty humble about all his achievements.

"I can't remember falling. I can't remember. It's like I didn't have a brain injury. It's just..I'm just living a normal life, and that's what I want to do," said Milhorn.

Milhorn credits great teachers and family support for helping him get to this point, and teachers credit him for inspiring them and fellow students to succeed.

"David is one of the big reasons why I come to work every day. He...he just has a lot of passion for what he does. With every class he's taken, he takes it very seriously, always does his best, and does it to the fullest. I just really appreciate students like him," said instructor Julie Wiles.

Milhorn will graduate from Ben Franklin next month, certified in computer aided drafting. He will then go on to compete in the Skills USA national competition, which is a contest that will draw more than 6,000 people to Kansas City in June.

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