George County teen returns home after months of recovery following Hwy. 26 collapse
LUCEDALE, Miss. (WLOX) - A George County teen was welcomed back home after spending nearly five months recovering after being severely injured in a deadly washout on Highway 26 following Hurricane Ida.
Layla Jamison is back home and it was a welcome-home party to remember.
Hundreds gathered at Lucedale City Hall to make it official. And of course, the welcome came with lots of gifts, and a few tears of joy.
“Today was a lot,” Layla said. “Today means a lot to me. I’m beyond grateful for everyone here, and for the fact that I am here. I’m so happy.”
The 18-year-old has had a long journey of recovery at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.
“It’s definitely been a struggle,” she said. “I’m a drama queen. I have cried so much. But, I’m here. You know, I’m doing good.”
The event was organized by Pam Henderson, Kelly Wilkerson and Marsha Peters.
“She’s already been through over 21 surgeries, and we just want to show her our love and support and just put our arms around her and welcome her home,” Wilkerson said.
Layla’s story has become an emotional connection throughout the region.
On August 31 2021, two people died and 10 were injured after the road washed away following heaving rains from Hurricane Ida. Three of those hurt were injured critically, with one being Layla.
“She became at one time, everybody’s best friend, everybody’s niece, everybody’s daughter, everybody’s granddaughter,” said Wilkerson.
Some of her best friends, Mackenzie Yawn, Emily Read and Julianne Davis are just happy to have her back.
“We’re just excited,” Mackenzie said. “It gives me a lot of hope that things are going to go back to normal and I’m so proud of her for staying so positive.”
Emily added “She’s been so strong and we spent all day together and we’re just so happy.”
And many say the accident won’t get in her way.
“She’s really great,” said friend Lexi McKissick. “She’s always been nice and always been really outgoing. Before the accident, she was trying to do so much. I feel like she’s still probably will try to pursue that.”
Layla knows she still has a long road to recovery. But she’s looking ahead, not backward.
“I’m excited,” she said. “I’m excited that I have a future.”
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