TEUTOPOLIS — Every once in awhile, Aaron Greene says his knee hurts. After what he's been through in the past nine months, he feels fortunate that the knee is the only thing that hurts.
Greene, now 18, is the Teutopolis teen who was nearly killed when he was hit by a vehicle while visiting relatives in Rockford June 12. The force of the collision drove his right arm into his shoulder socket, broke his collarbone and left arm, caused elbow and knee injuries and left him in a coma.
But nearly nine months later, Greene shows almost no outward signs of the accident and — after taking off a year from school — is ready to work toward his career goal of becoming a youth pastor.
Greene received Southside Baptist Church's annual Servant of the Lord award during revival services last week. He was recognized for "keeping the faith in the face of a traumatic life-altering event."
The award came as a complete surprise to Greene.
"It's amazing. It surprised me," he said.
Despite the pain he endured after the accident, Greene is looking ahead to attending West Coast Baptist Bible College in the California high desert city of Lancaster. He hopes to use his story to help others deal with their issues.
"This story will be valuable in my future," Greene said. "As a youth pastor, I can use it as a tool."
Greene, who was home-schooled, was already planning to be a youth pastor before the accident.
Dad Scott said his son is doing remarkably well, given the seriousness of his injuries.
"He's doing a whole lot better," the elder Greene said
Mom Christina said her son's survival — much less recovery — is a gift from God.
"It's a miracle," Mrs. Greene said. "He is our living 21st century miracle."