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Hello. My name is Bill Richman, and I am the administrator for TGIF Hawaiian Harmonica Retreat (with JP Allen and Hal Walker) Facebook page.
Our friend Hal Walker, a self-employed musician, was in a near-fatal accident a month ago. The TGIF Hawaiian Harmonica Retreat (with JP Allen and Hal Walker) alumni are running a campaign to raise funds to help Hal with the medical bills.
As you know, Hal was JP Allen’s original harmonica teacher and the two remain closest of friends. Like JP, Hal has committed his life to helping others find joy in music. He does a lot of humanitarian work, including teaching school children all about music, and he changes people's lives wherever and whenever he performs his music.
Your most generous contribution to the TGIF Harmonica Retreat Hal Walker Fund is deeply appreciated. 100% of proceeds will go toward offsetting the financial costs of Hal’s significant medical bills (and alleviating the anguish of mounting bills during this time, as Hal cannot even play his music right now).
We all are praying for Hal’s speedy recovery, so he can return to his harp playing as soon as possible and once again fill people's hearts with the joy of music.
Please do what you can to get the word out and make some noise about the TGIF Harmonica Retreat Hal Walker Fund.
Thank you for your support.
Members of the TGIF Hawaiian Harmonica Retreat (with JP Allen and Hal Walker)
I'm writing you on my 47th birthday to let you know how grateful I am to be alive and to have you in my life
As you know, I have been in Hawaii for the last week. Yesterday, I had a near-drowning experience and today, it is literally a miracle that I'm alive. Tonight, it's been very difficult to sleep, so at this point it's a fairly terrifying miracle; but it is a real miracle... I'm looking forward to feeling the reborn, thank you God feeling of having this miracle in the past.
My good friend JP Allen and I have been leading a Hawaiian Harmonica retreat this week. Despite some lingering TMJ/jaw issues, it's been quite wonderful.
Yesterday JP, myself and 2 retreat participants were walking along the huge mountains of Lava at one place along the ocean. We hiked a hidden path behind Ben Stiller's mansion to get to this other worldly place of black lava. I was actually feeling quite good because there has been significant improvement in my jaw pain of 6 weeks in the last couple days.
At one point, the four of us stopped on this wide bridge of lava that was overlooking a 15 foot round pool of water. The waves would travel down a wide canal, go under the bridge and then would spout up in this pool like a dragon. It was very beautiful to look at.
None of us sensed that we were in any danger. We were on dry lava. We looked back and saw some very large waves coming and we stood awaiting the show that we would be viewing.
As we stood there, waiting to see the wave... very suddenly and unexpectedly, a huge wall of wave struck two of us from behind and within a split second I was submerged in water, being sucked under the bridge and out into the ocean. I was underwater for an extended time, when I came up for air, I was quickly struck again. At some point my head hit a rock and I was thinking, "Oh yeah.. this is what happens when you're being pummled by waves and the current." I gasped for air a couple more times as I could feel myself being pulled out into the ocean.
Finally there was a calming of the big waves and I could see JP. He was calling me to take off my shoes and pants and start swimming toward him. I was shouting in terror, but trying to follow his directions to stay calm. It seemed like a long 20 yards that I had to swim to JP and the current was such that I had a feeling it wasn't making a diffference.
I was mainly thinking that I was going to die and that Hallie was going to have to face this. I was thinking about how exhausted I felt and wondered how long it would be before I would have to give up.
then a wave pushed me in the direction of JP and I found myself hanging on to the side of a lava wall. JP tried to hand me a long stick and I grabbed it, but soon we lost our connection and I went under again. Finally, we connected again with the stick and JP dragged me to an easier entry spot to land. Miraculously, a wave pushed me at the right moment and I found myself laying on lava with JP hovering over me... "Keep moving! there are more waves coming! you gotta move about 10 more feet. I was plastered to the rocks with lungs filled of salt water and totally spent. I was dead weight. I felt like I didn't have an ounce of energy left, but fortunately, I was able to move about 10 feet away from the edge and Greg had called 911.
It seemed like, Fairly quickly, the rescue people had arrived. When they showed up, I learned that the other guy, Ash, had not made it. JP had seen him floating face down out into the ocean. Our sense is that Ash was struck in the head and made unconscious on the fall into the water hole. Ash was a wonderful and lively 62 year old man from Singapore. He was a smoking cessation counselor and had dreams of using the harmonica to inspire people to quit smoking. He gave us all lessons in the health benefits of using a rebounder/ small trampoline to gain good health.
I laid there in my underwear unable to move but sensing that I had survived. they were sending me a helicopter to life flight me to the ambulance. I soon became very cold and was shivering and panting for air. At one point another huge wave came and these rescue guys were all holding me down, the wave hit us and I screamed in terror as it moved us all a couple feet.
Eventually, they hooked me into a metal crate and the helicopter flew me up over the cliffs to a parking lot. I could see out of the corner of my eye a spectacular view as I was being transported, but that was not my concern.
Pretty soon the ambulance guys confirmed that all my vitals looked good. I was panting for air and they were encouraging me to take deeper breaths to clear out the salt water and to avoid pneumonia.
In the hospital, I was shivering and in shock. they took x-rays to see the water in my lungs, after several hours they felt like it was ok for me to be released. JP and Greg and JP's partner, Caru arrived after a long interview with detectives.
I was glad to see them and I burst into tears when they arrived. We have been talking non-stop about the miracle that I had made it.
I was quite beat up by the rocks... my whole body is covered in minor cuts and abrasions. I lost my glasses and my iphone in the water, but I am in one piece. When we got back to JP's, we could see that the helicopter's were still looking for Ash.
I am left with some very frightening images that keep playing over and over in my head. i'm hoping these will subside before too long. We got home and JP spent a couple hours cleaning my wounds with hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil and Noni fruit.
So that's the story... I looked death in the face and it was terrifying.
I'm heading home soon. I'll look for you when I get there.