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A mini-miracle on Christmas

By the Rev. Fleming Otey

Special to the Salisbury Post

Since January over a year ago, a stepgrandson, Preston Smith, has been in a comatose state where his eyes are open but not responding. The nurses and his mother can move him about, but he showed no real response until this recent Christmas 2017.

All the family gathered around him to sing Christmas carols. They brought him home with a special ramp for his wheelchair, designed and built by Uncle/Grandpa Ashton Otey — and hidden behind the garage door.

His mother, Marna Smith, has been his nurse also. They verbally challenged and encouraged Preston to react positively without results. This was all the delayed result of a skateboard accident that happened in May 2016.

But Christmas was different.

When they insisted that Preston “kiss the new baby” — because it was Christmas — he leaned sideways in his wheelchair toward the baby.

Uncle Ashton was taking pictures for the family photo album and online updates for their prayer partners. Ashton moved in for close-up photos and kept clicking pictures.

Suddenly everyone was astonished because Preston was really placing a brief peck or kiss on the head and neck of the little baby. Ashton reviewed the photos sequenced in the camera memory to see what he thought he saw. And now we have the photo sequence proof that the miraculous improvement did occur. And that it was a positive response to human love and encouragement.

I have often encouraged others with the story of our Uncle Ford who was paralyzed for years from a bike fall and did not completely heal until he was about 12 years old. He joined the Army early and was in World War IIand the Korean War. But he also ran a salvage yard and the family supermarkets for many years before retiring and passing to glory a few years ago, when he was about 100 years old.

So Preston has family hope to recover fully and be a blessing and a beacon of hope for others.

This memory of Preston kissing the baby was like a miraculous sign of hope for others in the blessed new year of 2018.

Key family witnesses included Preston’s mother Marna Smith; grandparents Shelley Otey and her husband, Chaplain Ashton Otey (with camera); Lena Krueth with her daughters Anna and new baby “Ava.”

The extended family includes: Rev. Dr. Flem and Yoshiko Otey, son Ashton, daughters Francoise and Mimiko plus spouses and five grandchildren.

The Rev. Fleming Otey lives in Salisbury.

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