Teen thanks nurses who aided his recovery - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Teen thanks nurses who aided his recovery

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Trea Smith and Kerri Mills, R.N. Trea Smith and Kerri Mills, R.N.
Smith greets health workers at Phoebe Smith greets health workers at Phoebe
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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

July 24, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Trea Smith's family calls his recovery nothing short of a miracle.

The 16-year-old Lee County teen was severely injured in a truck crash June third, that killed 16-year-old Cole Lentz and injured 16-year-old Garrett Hart. Smith was transferred to an Atlanta hospital where he's been undergoing intense rehab and returned home Wednesday, and Thursday wanted to thank the many people that helped his recovery.

It's been a week of milestones for Trea Smith. Wednesday he turned 16. Two months ago it was questionable if he would see that birthday. Smith was in the backseat of Cole Lentz's truck as it made a U-turn and was hit on Forrester Parkway.

Thursday, surrounded by family and friends, he hugged and shared tears with Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital nurses who made his 16th birthday celebration so sweet.

"He was very critical when he first came in. We weren't expecting this, we were hoping for it," said Kerri Mills, R.N.

"It means a lot, this is what makes our job worthwhile, when they come back, walking and talking and looking good like this," said Dawn Faircloth RRT.

Nurses call Trea's progress amazing, he had similar words for seeing them again.

"It's amazing," said Trea Smith.

Smith's speech is affected by his severe brain injury, but his bruised and collapsed lungs are healed. When rehab started they said it would be weeks before he walked, but Trea's determination has been relentless.

"He shoved his wheelchair out in the hallway up there the fourth day we were there, he wasn't going to use it anymore," said Michael Smith, Trea's father.

Now with support and prayers Smith is making strides.

"They say it's truly a miracle but the real miracle has been all the people that came together for you. So many people showed so much and I've just never see anything like it," said Smith.

Smith's recovery is far from over, but now hopefully it can continue closer to home, surrounded by family and friends who know Trea Smith is nothing short of amazing.

The community will continue their support of Trea Smith with a "Miss"ter Lee County Pageant August second. Proceeds from the event will help with Smith's medical expenses.

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