More than 31 years ago, George Garlick
had a life-changing experience that nearly killed him.
It was a difficult day for Garlick
A company he
had started and devoted much of his
life to, was declaring bankruptcy.
was driving about 65 mph in his
nephew's boxy, blue Gremlin on a narrow highway, fast approaching an intersection.
saw the black exhaust of an 18-wheeler billowing into the air and the semi's driver saw him and tried to accelerate through the intersection.
It was too late.
slammed on his
hit the semi-truck broadside.
wasn't wearing a seatbelt.
head went through the windshield and Garlick
was knocked unconscious.
was unconscious, he
was at the same time totally awake and engaged, he
had a silent conversation with God at that moment.
said if he
was allowed to live, his
life "would no longer belong" to him.
It was a new beginning for the scientist who has become known as a savvy businessman, entrepreneur and gracious philanthropist.
Garlick has a doctorate in electrical engineering and solid state physics and has received wide recognition for his work pioneering acoustical holography for medical imaging and other applications.
Last year, he
added one more title to his
Garlick's book, The Journey To Truth: How Scientific Discovery Provides Insights into Spiritual Truths, was published in 2009 and all proceeds from the books are given to charity.
"The book was more than a subtle calling," said Garlick
, who spent nearly 10 years on the project and more than three years actually writing the book.
, who grew up on a farm in Nebraska, is a devote Christian who often has taught about the association of science and theology.
The book, part memoir and part scientific primer, chronicles Garlick's personal passion to reconcile what he
believes as biblical truths with his
own scientific knowledge and credits his
success with strong faith.
From childhood, Garlick's interest in the world around him put him at odds with his
family's strong faith beliefs.
In the book, Garlick
refers to the "mountain of truth," a metaphor for what he
believes to be the relationship between science and faith.
The mountain's terrain relates to the scientific and biblical ascent to the truth that Garlick
believes exists at the summit and is central to the book.
"To achieve a richer life, we need to keep pursuing, keep climbing the mountain of truth because all those that seek shall find," he
Giving is part of that, he
"When we do focus on others and giving to others, the reward is very real," he
, whose community reputation looms large, is quite different in person.
tall and stately, but speaks in a soft voice filled with quiet sincerity.
"I was quite shy and reserved growing up," he
"But that didn't mean I wasn't determined."
father, who never graduated eighth grade, taught him about pride and hard work and the value of an education.
went blind from cataracts, but continued to work - taking a job as a janitor in town and earning $1 a day.
got that education and then came opportunities.
was flown first class to job interviews in California, where he
was picked up in a limo and offered a great job.
was flown to the Tri-Cities
, sitting in economy and landing in the desert in the middle of a sandstorm.
was offered a job teaching electrical engineering for General Electric
"The salary was 60 percent of what I was offered in L.A.," he
But it was a place where he
could make a difference, and that was important to him.
And Garlick has made a substantial difference in the community, developing and directing the Joint Center for Graduate Study in the 1960s, which is now Washington State University's Tri-Cities.
started more than a dozen companies, including Advanced Imaging Technologies, which uses the acoustical holography technology he
developed for early detection of breast cancer.
constantly given back to local nonprofits, including The Chaplaincy
at Hospice, Washington State University
, The Reach and Grace Clinic.
philanthropy hasn't been exclusive to the Tri-Cities
has never forgotten his
roots and his
hometown of Curtis, Neb., where his
financial contributions helped build an Education Center at the University of Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture
Last year, Garlick
promised to build a new residence hall for NCTA students, which prompted the Nebraska Legislature to fund a new $9.7 million education center.
The project has helped revitalize a dying town, bringing life back to the town, which is very fulfilling, Garlick