PORT NECHES, Texas — Members of the Port Neches community celebrated the return of a teen who suffered a traumatic brain injury during a junior varsity football game in October.
After spending weeks at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston recovering from the injury, Noah Jackson returned home Saturday night. Family, friends and members of the community gave Jackson a red-carpet welcome.
Jackson’s return is weeks ahead of schedule. His family and friends are happy that Jackson will get to spend Thanksgiving with them.
“It's going to be the best Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for this year,” Kim Borne-Jackson, Noah Jackson's mother, said.
Hundreds went out to set up a parade around Port Neches-Groves High School. Once Jackson exited the car, the love from the community began to pour out.
Jackson received countless hugs, a parade, and a personal performance of the Cherokee fight song from the school band. He also met up with the football team and was greeted by thousands of proud Indian alumni.
While many in attendance knew him personally, most there just went to the same school. They said they bleed purple for Port Neches-Groves.
“We bleed purple,” Beau Wilson, event organizer, said. “Everybody here it doesn't matter if we've met, if we haven't met, if you go to this school, we're together. That’s how it rolls. It’s the same with other local schools. That’s just the area we live in.”
Jackson said he was in awe to see the support from not only friends and family, but also an entire community that stood behind him.
“I'm really happy to see all my people. Its ecstatic really, a lot better than the hospital,” Noah Jackson said. “I was shocked really, in awe. I didn't think all these people cared about me.”
Kim Borne-Jackson said the community support has been there from the start. She believes it aided in Noah’s progress.
"It equals what they’ve been doing the whole 40 days we've been gone,” Kim Borne-Jackson said. “Since this started that night, here on this field, we felt the love. We felt the prayers from our community. They supported us this whole time."
The mother credits her son’s early return to one thing.
“It’s the prayers,” Kim Borne-Jackson said. “It's nothing but God. He is a walking miracle, he really is. They expected his recovery to be like two years and here we are, two months, and he's already walking and talking.”
The Port Neches teen is already ready to get back on the field.
“I don’t know, it’s just time to beef up and get ready for next football season really,” he said.
After leaving the celebration set up for him, Noah Jackson went to with his friends for a pizza party. On Thursday, the Jackson’s will enjoy Thanksgiving with Noah at the table.