BULLOCK CO., AL (WSFA) - Deep in the heart of Bullock County there is a story of courage in what's known as the Almeria community.
"At one time I couldn't read, walk, talk or write,' said Reverend Dean Watson.
Dean Watson embodies the notion of making the very best out of a really bad situation.
"I never gave up," he said.
But he could have many times over. The year was 1972, a deer hunting trip in Georgia.
"I was accidentally shot in the back of my head with a rifle, and the next day when I came to I as an invalid," said Watson.
Despite bouts of depression and heavy frustrations,
"It took a long time to accept things,"
After recovering his speech and use of his legs and arms in rehab, Watson took a step towards developing his talent as an artist. He now walks with a cane.
"And right there is an eagle soaring," Watson said pointing to his painting.
Watson's hallway at home is filled with his paintings, mainly country scenes. He says he later felt the brush to enter the ministry.
"It was a spiritual awakening," he said.
A spiritual awakening to help others.
"I can relate to people who are hurting. You have to have a positive attitude. You can't accomplish much with a negative attitude," said Watson.
Watson makes no apologizes for crediting his faith for his remarkable recovery, and now he wants to pay it forward, pay it forward in the form of a possible recreational center across the highway from his church. There's no decision on that yet. What is settled is the softball field Watson had built next door to his home. Call it his field of dreams in Almeria. Watson plans to not only have community softball games but use the field to spread an underlying message of faith and hope. Watson inspired people to donate money and supplies and volunteers to build the field.
"This weekend we'll have our Fall Festival from 5 to 7 on Saturday night," said Watson.
Reverend Dean Watson does not hesitate to say his hunting accident was a gift. Even now, some 38 years later, he wouldn't change a thing.
"I don't feel like my life would be as fulfilled as it is right now because I have a purpose in life," said Watson.
Music to the ears of a man who overcame so much, changing lives in ways he never thought possible.
Dean Watson has also become a prolific writer. He's authored two books and earned two doctorates in Ministry and Theology.
Email Bryan Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of someone who is making a difference in your community.