Friends, family welcome local man back after suffering devastating neck injury

8d4a05d806bf4102b31e6a8e5cbef9be

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — “Immediately felt numb and was just thinking ‘how do I get out of the ocean.”

Those are the words of Justin Bennett recalling the terrifying moments while on vacation in the Outer Banks this summer. He dove into the water, struck a sandbar and broke his neck. He was rushed into surgery, with his family uncertain if he would survive.

6e4f007f0e834dbb93f40544136cd905“That’s my nightmare,” Bennett’s mother Kathy Grogan-Farmer, said. “That’s the nightmare that I wished would have never happened.”

For the past few months, he’s been recovering in Atlanta, unable to walk, working for hours every day to help his body heal.

“Stay positive, keep working hard, and keep praying,” Bennett said of his mentality the past few months.

‘It’s a mother’s dream. I mean, I was just so proud of him and to watch him do what he was doing, it was unbelievable,” Grogan-Farmer said.

While Bennett and his mom worked in rehab, friends back home like Lisa Lugo did what they could to help the family. Lugo held a haunted house fundraiser last month to help pay for out of pocket medical costs.

8c3bfe728e1f47128894ef514b37585c

‘It’s amazing how many people were touched by his story. I had people I didn’t know, came out and supported it, it’s amazing, I don’t’ know any other word to describe it,” Lugo said.

“She did an unbelievable job, the whole family did and for everybody to support her just meant the world to me,” Bennett said.

“These people are here supporting my son and helping him get through this journey in his life and it was just more love than I had felt in my entire life,” said Grogan-Farmer.

While Bennett is still in therapy he’s already made plans to go back to his job at SIMA Financial Group in two weeks. Co-workers greeted him at the airport when he got back home.

b3506761933c472488de9715ca493ed4

“I love it, I love it, I miss him being around here,” Lugo added.

And as far as what he hopes people can take away from his story, Bennett says, “God doesn’t give you more than what you can handle. So keep fighting through and you’ll be alright.”

Never miss another Facebook post from 8News

Find 8News on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; send your news tips toiReport8@wric.com.