Determination Leads Injured Berryhill Seniors To Graduation Day
BERRYHILL, Oklahoma - A car crash nearly took their lives, but it didn't take the determination of two Berryhill high school seniors.
Hunter Bohannon and Bobby Clayton were hurt so badly in January that they both missed out on the last half of their senior year here at Berryhill High School, but their debilitating injuries aren't keeping the boys from meeting their goals.
It's been a long time coming; Hunter and Bobby finally together again, with their classmates rallied around.
"I remember the first night, they all, I don't even know how many, made a huge circle in the ICU for both boys and they just prayed," said Bobby's mom, Katina Rowell.
It's the ceaseless prayer that Bobby's mom said brought her son and Hunter where they are now.
Nearly five months ago the high school seniors crashed while carpooling to school. Their families said the teens were hit by a truck after the car they were in slid past a stop sign on a slick road.
Their injuries were so traumatic they were both in comas for weeks and ICU for more than three months.
"It's not easy, but you just make it every day, thankful for every day that you have," Rowell said.
Bobby's lungs were severely damaged, and his throat and tongue were paralyzed. He still can't talk.
Hunter has a traumatic brain injury, he can't speak yet, but his grandma says he can spell quite well, so that's how he communicates.
"He's determined, ‘aren't ya,'" Hunter's grandma, Sharon Daniels said while patting her grandson's arm.
Determination is something Hunter and Bobby have in common.
Despite what doctors told them, both have learned to walk again, much sooner than expected, and just in time for the walk the seniors had been waiting for; the walk across the stage at graduation.
"It was awesome because we didn't think we would be there, much less walk across the stage," said Rowell.
"Did it on his own. Yep, he did it, that's what we wanted," Daniels said.
It was the moment Hunter's mother had prayed for since the day of the accident. She had been by Hunter's side every step of his recovery, but graduation day was a milestone she missed.
Hunter's mom died unexpectedly one week before he received his diploma; but, life must go on, Hunter's grandma said, so she's trying to focus the gift of life, rather than the heartache of loss.
"I'm just glad he's here, that's the main thing, just keep him alive, that's all I ask for," Daniels said.
Slowly, some of the small things are starting to fall back in place, like Hunter's infectious smile.
"It'll getcha, gets him anything he wants most of the time, he's a little spoiled," said Daniels.
Then there are Bobby's dreams, which are alive now more than ever before.
"He's a goofy, crazy kid and he's very versatile, but I know his future will be in graphic design," Bobby's mom said. "I hope for a great life, I hope that he's able to achieve any goal that he wants to."
They're two teenagers forever bound, not by one horrific morning, but by their hope for the future.
Both boys are back home, and while they're making great strides in their recoveries, they've still got a long road ahead.
A rummage sale and car wash, which were rescheduled, are now planned for June 20th and 21st. The fundraisers will begin each day at 8 a.m., next door to Berryhill High School.