Horvath brings story of valor to Atchison
Despite dying three times on July 16, 2014, in Steel City, Nebraska, Mandy Horvath has gone on to live a life that dwarfs many and is nothing short of inspirational.
Horvath brought her unbridled courage and determination this past weekend to accept the 2022 Amelia Earhart Pioneering Achievement Award.
“This woman is courage,” Amelia Earhart Festival Coordinator Jacque Pregont said. “She has become an inspiration to me, and I know she will be you too.”
Pregont also read a quote from Horvath while introducing her Pioneering Award Luncheon
“Let’s redefine what disability is because it isn’t a disability,” Pregont read “I’m perfectly capable of and able to do anything, and so is anybody else.”
The Smithville native opened her speech talking about how much comfort she has gotten from being around nature in places like Atchison, Topeka, and Pratt.
“The banks of these rivers, the woods, the wildlife, the mushrooms, the turkey, the deer that’s what I love,” Horvath said. “The outdoors brought me solace.”
Horvath also talked about how in 2015 Atchison Valley Hope helped her overcome her addiction to pain medications after being on 22 medications a day.
She said the words of at-the-time-valley hope director Jack Selberg helped save her life from a toxified liver and kidney that could have killed her in about six months.
“He shared a story about a man named Boular who was a bilateral above knee amputee who laid most of the bricks in Atchison streets today,” Horvath said. “He told me one day you are going to lay a foundation of bricks of your own so people can follow you as well.
Horvath went into her history of being a victim of domestic violence, PTSD, and alcoholism.
In 2018, while living in Colorado Horvath went up the Manitou Springs Incline by simply crawling the whole way which consists of 2,744 railroad ties of steps leading up a mountain, and gains 2,000 feet of elevation in just under a mile.
“For the first time since post-amputation I dreamt of a different set of tracks,” Horvath said. “A set of tracks that didn’t lead me into darkness. I dreamt of myself without limbs, and if you know anything about amputation or a loss of a limb you know it takes years for you to have that actually set in.”
Before making the climb and receiving nothing but negative notions about her attempting the feat from whoever was told, Horvath was in preparation to end her life if not for dozing off and waking up to two messages from two strangers who did remember and asked if she still planned to attempt the trek.
“You don’t need to be rich or have anything figured out to help somebody else,” Horvath said. “Always help the next person in line and reach for help if you need it no matter what kind of help that might be.”
During her speech, Horvath also took a moment to ask members of the audience to pull out their phones to text someone they know in their contacts no matter who it is, and at least tell them “hi.”
“I think we all in this room see how long that took to text someone, less than two minutes,” Horvath said. “Your text message could help save someone’s life. It doesn’t take that long to send a text message.”