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Victoria couple featured on 700 Club

By BY KAYLA BELL
July 19, 2010 at 2:19 a.m.

Chad Ganaway and Chelsea Ganaway were fortunate to survive an accident that could have easily taken both of their lives. Doctors thought Chelsea, who suffered paralyzing injuries, would not recover as well as she has so far.

IF YOU GOWHAT: Chad and Chelsea Ganaway's testimony

WHO: part of Holy Cow Ministries

WHERE: Templo Jerusalem Baptist Church, 2205 E. Mockingbird Lane

WHEN: August 1 at 11 a.m.

COST: Free

CONTACT: Chad Ganaway, 361-218-6148

Chad Ganaway hummed to background music as the 14-minute picture slideshow he created played on his TV screen Sunday.

Little did he know, that slideshow, which chronicled his and his wife's car wreck and recovery, would land them a spot on the 700 Club.

"Never in a million years," Chad said, after an acquaintance encouraged him to send the DVD to Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network.

Chad made the DVD on March 13 - on what was supposed to be his wedding day.

Instead of marrying his girlfriend of nearly nine years, Chad and Chelsea were at a benefit, hoping to raise money for the medical costs they incurred after a wreck in November 2009.

The then-engaged couple were returning to Victoria from Thanksgiving at Chad's family's house in Hobbs, N.M. Chad was driving Chelsea's Honda Civic on Farm-to-Market Road 11 near Fort Stockton when they struck a 1,500-pound black cow that was in the middle of the road.

The cow took off the roof of the car, which slid down a ditch, through a fence and came to a stop in a mesquite bush.

When Chad came to he realized his left arm was broken and yelled for Chelsea, who was unresponsive in the seat next to him.

"It never clicked that there was no roof on the car," Chad said of the moments after the crash. "I just knew I was looking at the stars, and I screamed at the top of my lungs, 'Help us, Jesus.'"

Miraculously, as the Ganaway's say, Chad's cell phone was in his hand, even after the impact had strewn most of the vehicle's contents as far as 75 feet away.

"We feel like several miracles happened that night," Chad said. "A 1,500-pound cow hit our windshield without taking our heads off. And we slid through a ditch, with no roof, without flipping."

Chad said he called 911 at least eight times and waited 45 minutes for anyone to respond.

"I was praying over her the entire time," Chad said of Chelsea. "There wasn't a question in my mind who to turn to."

Chelsea was flown to Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, where she was in a coma for seven days. Doctors said she'd be lucky to recover even 50 to 60 percent of her normal brain functioning.

"I don't remember anything," Chelsea said of both the crash and aftermath.

But she now laughs at the stories her husband tells her of the months spent recovering at Warm Springs Rehabilitation System.

"We've been together since she was 17, and I honestly saw her as more of my kid than my wife," Chad said.

The crash mostly damaged Chelsea's speech center, which Chad said made her room at Warm Springs like a Comedy Central party every night.

"She was hilarious. She didn't make sense," he said. "One time I came in, and she said, "Oh, there's Yoakum."

Chelsea shrugged, laughed and said she called him Samantha a different time.

Despite the odds against her, Chelsea's now back to working at Mid-Coast Family Services and teaching Zumba classes at the Port Lavaca YMCA.

And the couple gives all the credit to God, saying that the crash helped re-ignite what had been a stagnant relationship with him.

So it was on March 13 that Holy Cow Ministries was formed.

Chelsea and Chad had a quick marriage ceremony that day before heading to their benefit, at which Chad gave his testimony.

His testimony, interrupted by the couple's powerful photo slideshow, make up the Holy Cow Ministries DVD, which is what Chad sent to CBN headquarters in Virginia Beach, Va.

As luck (or fate) would have it, Chad got a phone call from CBN the day before he was headed to Virginia Beach for a gymnastics tournament.

A CBN production crew followed the South Texas Elite Starz gymnastics coach and his wife at the competition.

And last Tuesday, the crew traveled to Victoria, where they interviewed the couple at their home.

"I had my Dr. Phil makeup on," Chad joked.

Chelsea said production was there for more than four hours, transforming their living room into a studio and even dismantling a door and propping it up on a table to make a stage.

The Ganaway's testimonial package is supposed to air in two segments on the 700 Club within the next four to six weeks, they said.

"It's almost hard to believe it wasn't meant to be," Chad said before popping in the photo slideshow that Chelsea said made her cry the first few times she saw it.

The Christian band MercyMe's "I Can Only Imagine" came to its conclusion as text appeared on the screen.

"Can you see this?" it said, overlaying photos of the car, the couple's injuries, and Chad resting his head on Chelsea while she lay in the hospital.

A photo of the happy couple dissolved to black. "And still not believe in God?"

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