Martel Surprise Guest At MGCCC Blood Drive

Ask car accident victim and former Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College student Allan Martel how he's doing, and he'll give it to you straight.

"I'm making it."

Martel showed up at a blood drive organized for his benefit Tuesday at the Multi-Purpose Room at the Perkinston Campus. The 20-year-old former Perk student has been out of the hospital since January 25.

Martel, and former Jefferson Davis Campus student Chris Rutland were seriously injured in a car accident on Hwy. 26, west of Wiggins, involving an 18-wheel logging truck and an extended cab pick-up truck with eight passengers. Six current and former Gulf Coast students died in the accident.

Martel says the only thing he remembers about the accident is the dense fog that night.

"I haven't figured it out yet," said Martel about why he survived the car wreck.

"They say that most people don't make it from the wreck to the hospital. The doctors told me that out of 100 people with the same injuries as I have, maybe one person will live through it. That shows how lucky I am and thankful I am for everyone's thoughts and prayers. I wouldn't have made it through if it wasn't for that."

Right now Martel is most noticeably missing his two front teeth. He's also in a wheelchair, with a metal rod keeping his broken right femur in place. The former Gulf Coast golf team member also has a metal plate with seven screws in his left forearm, and three screws in his hip.

Martel's parents also showed up for Tuesday's blood drive sponsored by Gulf Coast and United Blood Services.

"Once we knew Allan was getting better, we set everything up," said blood donor recruiter Debra Bigge. "Many of these students have never donated, so this is also a great educating tool for them."

Allan's mom Suzanne rolled up her sleeve and gave a pint of blood for her son's cause.

"As a parent, this ordeal is worse than your worst nightmare," she said. "He came through it with the help of the good Lord. He also has the best friends in the world."

Suzanne also said her son has had his ups and downs as he deals with the tragedy of losing six of his best friends.

"He's doing the best he can."

"He and Chris ( Rutland ) have to go on for his other friends too, and keep their memories alive."

The blood drive was Martel's first trip out of the house. He says his next goal is to play golf again, perhaps in June, at an annual father-and-son tournament in Jackson . He and his dad have played together in the event for years.

"I'll definitely get back in golf," Martel said with determination. "I'm here for a reason. I'll find out why one day. I plan on going to medical school, so maybe I'll save someone's life, just like someone saved mine."