Student finalist for $100,000 in essay contest

The Jaws of Life saved Danny Gibbons from a nearly fatal auto accident in 2005. A few years later, his life-turning experience became his winning story in the “Someday Stories” contest sponsored by Wells Fargo.

Gibbons saw the contest advertised on his Wells Fargo auto loan statement. On a whim, he spent 15-20 minutes writing a 250-word essay about his accident and submitted it. “The story I submitted basically tells about my true aspirations to become a physical therapist, and why,” said Gibbons.

Gibbons was originally an accounting major at UVU. But going through physical therapy to regain his strength after his accident made him decide to become a physical therapist and help others in the situation he was.

A few months after submitting his contest entry, he received a call from a contest representative with news that his essay had been chosen as one of the five finalists to compete for the grand prize of $100,000 and that, as a finalist, he had already won $10,000. “Finding out I am a finalist in the contest was such an exciting surprise,” said Gibbons.

Gibbons and his wife, Tiffani, were grateful for the money, considering their financial situation. “When my wife and I got the $10,000 check, we put most of it toward our auto loan, which gave us a significant amount of financial freedom,” said Gibbons. “We are expecting our baby girl — our first child — in mid-October, so the money will definitely help us a lot with the added financial pressure.”

As one of the five finalists for the $100,000 prize, Gibbons had his story videotaped by a film crew from San Francisco. That video and his essay, along with the other finalists’ videos and essays, will be posted on Wells Fargo’s website, where visitors can vote for their favorite. The story with the most votes will win the grand prize.

Gibbons hopes his classmates at UVU will help him in his dream of becoming a physical therapist by voting for him.

“I need help from my classmates at UVU, because winning this contest will help me realize at least one my life’s ambitions: to make a difference in the world through my service as a physical therapist,” said Gibbons. “The only thing standing between me and this once in a lifetime opportunity is gaining enough votes to win. If UVU can support me, then I have a great chance to make a dream a reality!”

Voting begins Sept. 17 and goes to Nov. 10. To see Gibbons’s story and to vote for him, go to

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