Peru State College
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News Release

Pilot, author to share story of survival Tuesday, April 1 at Peru State

Public invited to attend free event at 11 a.m.


(Peru, Neb.) A private pilot who has overcome multiple amputations and a Peru State alum who wrote a book about him are coming to Peru State to share their story at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 1 in the Center for Achievement and Transition Services (CATS) Conference Room.


Pilot Brian Thomas, a mechanic at Duncan Aviation in Lincoln, and author Lisa Kovanda, president of the Nebraska Writers Guild and Peru State alum, will discuss the book they co-wrote titled Modified Flight Plan.


Published in 2013, Modified Flight Plan tells how Thomas left work one day in April 2009, thinking he had the flu. Four hours later he was comatose and on life-support.  

Thomas, now in his early 30’s, has battled a rare bleeding disorder, Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP), since he was 2-years-old and previous medical treatments had compromised his immune system.


When he awoke after 10 days in a coma with his hands, feet and face developing gangrene, he faced the prospect of becoming a quadruple amputee. Surgeons saved his left hand, but Thomas, who has had a private pilot’s license since he was 16, also faced the reality that he might never fly again.


Undaunted, Thomas battled through a long recovery and regained not only the ability to lead a normal working life but also his pilot’s certification.


Kovanda and Thomas’s presentation is sponsored by the Peru State English Department. Copies of their book will be available for sale and signing.


For more information, contact Grotrian at or call 402-872-2290.