ENOCH, Iron County — Sixteen-year-old Obie Nef always knew he had friends in high school, but now he has no doubt, especially after everything he has been through lately.
It would be easy for Obie to stop smiling, but his friends from Canyon View High School in Cedar City won’t let him.
“I’ve never seen him without a smile on his face,” his friend Dustin Langston said. “He’s amazing, simply amazing.”
In August, Obie was driving on an access road and tried to get onto I-15, but turned in front of a semi, according to Cedar City police investigators. The two vehicles collided, leaving Nef in a coma with several broken bones.
His father, Darwin Nef, was also in the car at the time of the accident and suffered broken bones. His injuries, however, weren’t as severe as his son’s.
Obie was released from the hospital a couple of weeks before Christmas after several months in the hospital. His mother, Nelda, drove him past his high school where it seemed like the entire school welcomed him back.
“I was like, ‘Whoa,’ they were really excited to see me again,” Obie said at the time.
After the car he was driving was destroyed in the accident, Obie was pleasantly surprised to learn his classmates had gotten together to fix an old Pontiac Firebird so he’d have a car to drive once he was able to again.Comment on this story
Wednesday night, Obie received the surprise his friends had worked so hard on.
"I was like ‘Wow, that's a Firebird,’” he said. "If it wasn't for all the friends helping me out, then I would probably still be recovering.”
Obie isn’t returning to school full time just yet. He’ll just take a class or two and start off slowly. Getting a car to eventually drive to school is a pretty good gift, he says, but adds the real gift is friendship.
“Friendship and stuff — it really helps fulfill everything,” Obie said.