RUSK, TX (KLTV) - All one East Texas community knew was that one of their own was in need, so they rallied the troops to answer the call of duty. Now, a 7-year-old has a glass eye thanks to that community.
Alex Folkes is a typical second grader at Rusk Elementary with a not-so-typical new outlook on life.
"He looks like his old self, now," said Alex's mom, Laurie Goff.
Goff says a few weeks ago, Alex was outside playing while his grandfather mowed the lawn.
"All of a sudden, [she] heard Alex screaming bloody murder...and he looked over and he was coming around the truck, holding his eye," said Goff.
"My glasses flew off and I cried," said Alex.
"But, to this day, we don't know what hit him," said Goff. "All we know is something went in, flew over his glasses, cut his eye in half, and went out.
Alex was flown to Dallas. He went through two surgeries. Doctors eventually ruled his right eye could not be saved. A glass eye would cost his family more than $1,700. But, they only had a week to come up with the money.
"Children started bringing their little change purses - jars of money," said Sheila Hicks, a Rusk Elementary School counselor.
Hicks says it did not take long for the folks at Alex's school to find out. A letter was sent home with the kid the very next day.
"I got to have Alex with me to make a phone call to his mother to let her know how much money we had gotten," said Hicks.
The school had raised more than $1,400.
"It was just amazing," said Alex.
"He said, 'Ain't that great?'" said Hicks. "He was so excited."
He says the hardest part is not rubbing it. Mom would say it is hard keeping a 7-year-old's glass eye clean. He is already looking forward to playing baseball.
"I'll play next year," said Alex.
Other Rusk campuses and the community raised more than $4,000 for Alex. He will have to replace his glass eye in five years, when he turns 12. That second eye is already paid for thanks to all of the donations.
Alex says his doctor also painted a special smiley face on the corner of his eye.