Community Celebrates Return Of Coleton Parsley After 5-Month Recovery Process
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
Family, friends, and community members lined both sides of the road at the Chalybeate Sports Complex on Sunday, June 3, 2018 as they cheered for local hero, Coleton Parsley, as he rode in the front seat of a Chalybeate fire truck in his return home celebration after a grueling five-month stay in hospitals and rehab centers as a result of a devastating sledding accident in January.
Hundreds of people gathered in Coleton's honor at the park to celebrate his return home. There were bouncy houses, music, food, hugs, prayers, and tears of joy as what once looked like certain doom had now been changed to celebration.
Coleton's father, Brian Parsley addressed the crowd shortly after they arrived in the parade, which was made up of local emergency vehicles.
"There's no way Heather and I could ever say thank you enough to everyone that's supported us. It goes beyond words because 'thank you' is not enough," he said as his voice wavered. "It's been the most humbling situation to see this community, churches, and so many people far and near come together on Coleton's behalf. We're all grateful. Most of all, we want to say we're thankful for the prayers. We know that's what's got us and Coleton to where he's at. That's why his shirt says Proof that God answers prayers."
He then asked his brother in law, Bro. Joseph Wyatt, an area minister, to come forward and lead the crowd in prayer before food was served.
Before Bro. Wyatt led the prayer, he shared an inspiring story that helped him and other family members to remain faithful during the long recovery process.
"Back when Coleton was at one of his worst spots after God had answered my prayer and let me know he was going to make it, one morning I was sitting at the breakfast table and the Lord let me see in a vision," he said with tears in his eyes. "All I could see was a sign that said 'Welcome Home Coleton.'
He said his wife came in the room and asked him what was wrong, as she could see a different look on his face.
"I said there was going to come a day when there's going to be sign hung somewhere that says 'Welcome Home Coleton' and you'll see a lot of people there. So I'm thankful I got to be a part of this day and for what God has done."
He then asked all of Coleton's family members in attendance to join him in prayer as they all bowed together. Bro. Wyatt then led a very heartfelt prayer that moved many members of the crowd.
Coleton was presented his own custom fire helmet as he was named an honorary member of the Chalybeate Fire Department. He was also issued his own official unit number, 661.
Coleton sustained life threatening injuries when he struck a utility pole after being thrown from a sled on a family farm on January 13, 2018. His family immediately reached out everywhere for everyone to pray for Coleton. Over the course of five months and stays in Nashville and Atlanta hospitals and recovery facilities, his condition began to slowly improve and the family finally made their way back to Edmonson County last week.
Coleton will still undergo therapy three days a week, but is expected to make a full recovery. His mother, Heather, plans to return to work this month at Brownsville's A+ Family Healthcare Clinic after a lengthy leave of absence during Coleton's recovery.
Coleton was all smiles as he enjoyed the rest of the afternoon's celebration with his family, friends, and community.