|Danny Hall’s truck promotes his television program.|
Watch Second Chance Outdoors
by Alvin Benn
It didn’t take Danny Hall long to come up with a name for his television program about hunting, fishing and other activities found in woods, streams and frigid climates.
He calls it "Second Chance Outdoors" and the meaning was easy to understand once he explained his miraculous survival story.
"I was pronounced dead twice and was in a coma for 39 days," said Hall. "God has given me a second chance at life and I’m doing my best to take advantage of it."
His brush with death occurred on July 10, 2004, as he was tooling along on his motorcycle at a moderate speed toward his house in Oneonta. He and some friends had spent the day riding through the countryside and he was ready to get back home.
He remembered being about a mile from his house, but that’s it. He doesn’t recall a thing about the collision between his bike and a car coming in the opposite direction.
When he awoke from his coma, he learned he had been asleep for more than a month and doctors twice had pronounced him dead.
"I flat-lined for 8 ½ minutes the first time and 6 minutes the second time," he was told. "I was clinically dead and one doctor noticed my driver’s license had me as an organ donor. He was getting ready for that."
|Danny Hall uses hunting and fishing with the need for spiritual strength in times of distress.|
Hall said the doctor suggested "they may want to hook me up just in case there was something savable to be used if my heart stopped beating."
"That’s when God showed up and He told me it was time for me to go back to work," said Hall, who is quick to admit he had an angel on his shoulder throughout his 39 day coma.
The collision crushed his body and his left leg was amputated because it couldn’t be saved. Many of his bones were broken. Doctors transplanted muscles from his abdomen in an attempt to save his leg, but it wasn’t successful.
"They had me hooked up like a V8 engine," said Hall. "But I just knew I wasn’t going to die. God has allowed me to live to do something important and that’s to help other people."
As he laid in the hospital, Hall’s faith in God grew stronger by the day. He felt he had a debt to repay and it centered on his survival as well as helping others.
Until the accident, Hall had a successful home building business and, when he wasn’t doing that, he tried to get in as much hunting and fishing as possible.
His love of the outdoors not only helped pull him through his ordeal, it also gave him new direction in life—hunting and healing those who need spiritual help.
"The hunting and fishing talents God gave me shows others not to give up on life regardless of their circumstances," said Hall, adding that it’s important "to serve God and enjoy doing the things we always loved to do, even if we are challenged in doing them."
When doctors told him he likely would remain hospitalized or in rehabilitation for up to two years, he let them know in a hurry he had other plans.
"I told’em I was going to be home for my birthday on Oct. 14 and I got there two weeks sooner than that," he said.
Hall’s physical and spiritual strength helped get him through. A man who could bench press more than 400 pounds and squat much more showed he had the will to not only survive but carve out a new career at the same time.
A skilled archer as well as hunter and fisherman, Hall has put it to good use. He’s spent the last couple of years traveling around the U.S. and parts of Canada in pursuit of everything from deer to bears and the biggest fish he could find.
He and cameraman Rory Owens chronicle outings like the one to the Standing Rock Hunting Preserve in Tennessee. In search of a prize-size buffalo, they left Alabama under mild conditions, but the weather quickly changed.
They ended up in the middle of a mini-blizzard at one point and were bundled up as they waited for the right buffalo to take down. The date was April 14—not the time of year for blizzards.
Hall, Owens and others associated with Second Chance Outdoors have been pleased with the response from those who watch their shows throughout the year.
They estimated more than a million Alabamians have been watching their programs on the local cable television providers at 7 a.m. on Saturday mornings.
It takes a lot of time and effort to get to the segment sites and, once they are there, they work even harder to set-up to make sure the lighting and other conditions are just right.
One part of their programs is called "Down by the Creek." Hall uses it to mix hunting and fishing with the need for spiritual strength in times of distress.
"After what I went through, I have a new outlook on life," he said. "I realize I had an opportunity to help not just myself, but other people with personal problems."
Tim Wood, general manager of the Central Alabama Farmers Cooperative in Selma, became a big Danny Hall fan after inviting him to his hunting camp to tape one of his outdoor shows.
"I had no idea who Danny was or what the ‘Second Chance Outdoors’ even related to, but we got to know each other that night after he arrived," said Wood, who added:
"I could not help but be impressed by a man who could have taken an easier path and felt sorry for himself. Instead, he found his Savior and dedicated his life to helping those who needed inspiration and hope."
Wood said he doesn’t consider Hall’s disability to be a handicap, not when he is able to do with one leg what many have trouble doing with two, especially out in the woods.
"He just has to make more of an effort than many of us have to," said Wood. "Danny is definitely an inspiration and his program is his ministry. If my small part can help, it is the least I can do."
As with many first-time productions, revenue is always a challenge. Hall said several sponsors have helped him produce and show his outdoor programs.
"We can always use more sponsors," he said. "Our program is seen in 22 counties in Alabama and we alternate new and rerun shows through the year."
Hall, who is a grandfather, is preparing to head for Canada later this year to hunt black bear. He hopes it won’t be quite as chilly as the last time he was there.
"It dropped down to about 60 degrees below zero at one point," he said. "I came up with the idea to use hand-warmers to keep our camera batteries from freezing and it worked."
When he was strong enough to leave the hospital, Hall was determined not to sit around and feel sorry for himself.
"One thing I wasn’t going to do was have any pity parties for myself," he said. "I was going to help people and that’s one reason why I speak to so many church groups."
The electronic age has allowed Hall’s programs to be shown on home computers as well as cable television outlets. He said viewers "from around the world" have tuned in to watch him hunt and fish.
There is an old adage "Life Begins At 40" and, for Danny Hall, it couldn’t be a truer saying.
The accident that cost him his left leg and put him in a coma for 39 days happened just a few weeks before his 40th birthday.
In his mind, he is heading toward the fourth year of his new life.
Author’s Note: If you can’t get Danny Hall’s hunting and fishing program from your cable TV provider, you can watch it by typing www.secondchanceoutdoors.com on your home computer.
Alvin Benn is a freelance writer from Selma.