Man in the iron lung finds his angel 10 miles away

Original: Man in the iron lung

If it has a motor, it has Brady Richard of Dallas written all over it. Richard is the owner of the Environmental Testing Laboratory and he has a passion for things that move. That passion is evident in the number of classic vehicles in his garage.

There are two items in that garage that didn't even belong to him that carry an extra special significance: two iron lungs.

"This is probably the most unique thing in my garage," Richard said.

An iron lung is essentially a mechanical respirator that uses pressure to help a person breathe. The two sitting in his garage are likely from the 1950s. Richard would require those two iron lungs to help a complete stranger 10 minutes away.

"Brady is one of the angels," said Paul Alexander of Dallas.

Alexander suffers a life-changing disease called polio. The disease zapped all of his muscle-control, which resulted in the inability to breathe on his own.

"I count myself to be just that, a survivor," said Alexander.

An attorney by trade, he never let the disease keep him from doing what he wanted to do. He got his law degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

A year and a half ago, his own iron lung was starting to malfunction. Alexander had canvassed the entire country to find anyone to fix it. He didn't know Richard would be his "angel" just 10 minutes away.

"It was a very, unique coincidence," said Richard.

Richard was not a medical professional and had never handled an iron lung. He knew about the motor and he studied every facet of this dead technology. He ultimately ended up fixing Paul's iron lung.

Richard is now just a phone call away.

Most importantly, he says he finds inspiration in Alexander's story of survival.

"I respect this guy for being here. He's just incredible," Richard said.

"What polio did to my life, it destroyed my life. It took everything from me," he said.

Polio has done all that and yet, he lives happily. It has also brought together two men just 10 minutes away.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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