Back in May, Abilene High School football player Cory Almanza was involved in a car wreck that left him in a coma.
For months he was unable to move or communicate. The 17-year-old had a bright future. He was on the football team and a member of the Air Force Junior ROTC.
But, on the morning of May 5, his future changed drastically.
Cory's mother, Ruby Flores, recounts that day.
"They were going back to school and I got a call from the school saying that Cory had been in an accident,” Flores said. “When we arrived at the hospital he wasn't responding and they took me straight back to the room and let me see him because they didn't know what was going to happen next."
The vehicle Cory was in – with two other players – rear-ended a city garbage truck.
"We were in the hospital for like a month and a half,” Flores said. “He was in a coma for the whole time. He didn't respond any. No parent wants to see their children hurt especially in that situation."
They were able to bring Cory home where they waited and prayed. Just days ago, they say their prayers were answered.
"We were just sitting there talking to him like we always do and he just kept following our voices,” Flores said. “He was looking at me and then his sister was talking and he turns and looks at her. He was just following us and it was amazing. I was just ‘Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus’ ... that's all I could say."
Now Cory is doing physical therapy at his house. His mother says she is full of hope for his future, even though it may look different than what they imagined for him.
"[I hope] that he can talk and express himself,” Flores said. “Let everybody know what he's been through and how The Lord has blessed him. He can be an inspiration to others that are in his situation. To tell them not to give up but just keep fighting."
And as anyone will tell you, if there's one thing Cory has it's the ability to fight.
"His friend told him two-a-days are starting,” Flores said. “And he said 'I want to go, I want to go.' And they said 'No you don't, it's hot!'"
But with the laughter comes an important reminder from a mother who stared at an unthinkable loss:
"Just love your kids as much as you can while you can,” Flores said. “Let ’em know, because you never know what tomorrow brings.”
Cory's mother says her family is so thankful for the support from the community. There have been several benefits and fundraisers that allowed them to make a down payment on a handicap van.