St. Louis man grateful for near death experience; helps youth, receives high honors

ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Frank Wilson started his young adulthood in construction, digging ditches. Now he owns a construction company and is an adjunct professor at Washington University where he earned a Masters degree in construction management.

It's an education he got after he went directly to the program director and advocated to get in.

"I was reaching for the stars and they answered," Wilson said.

He spends his time now giving back to the community specifically youth minorities, not only showing it’s possible to reach your dreams but also giving them a way to get there. He goes to high schools and gives the same lectures he gives to his Washington University students.

Two weeks ago, Wilson was on a boating trip with two children and his friends when all of that nearly washed away when the motor stopped.

"The water started rushing into the boat, the boat sank, started tipping, and it threw all of us off the boat," Wilson said.

"AlI I could think about was coming to get my kids, I saw my daughter and I saw my son, and I'm not sure what happened, I was kicking like crazy.”

Rescue crews arrived and brought them all to safety.

Two weeks later, Mayor Francis Slay’s office proclaimed October 5 "Frank Wilson Day.”

"I have a whole new appreciation for so many different things because of this," he said.

His experience on the river made him see there's no better time to share his story and help others fight for their dreams.