SAN ANTONIO (WOAI/KABB) — Noah Orona was one of the children shot in the Robb Elementary mass shooting. He was rushed to Methodist Children's Hospital in San Antonio and immediately put into emergency surgery.
One year later Noah and his family returned to thank the front-line workers who saved his life.
They were strangers a year ago and now they are family.
“We're just so happy to see everyone here,” Noah’s father Oscar Orona said.
Inside the doors of Methodist Children's Hospital on the Northwest side nurses and a top surgeon cheer for a patient they say they'll never forget.
“It's good to catch up. We got the call [on May 24, 2022] and I'm sure— I assume— that the trauma centers were quite busy and so we of course, we accepted him and took care of him right away,” Dr. Frank Robertson said.
Robertson, a pediatric surgeon, said that call was for help treating Noah.
The 11-year-old needed surgery after being shot one year ago in the Robb Elementary mass shooting. Twenty-one people were killed, which included Noah's two teachers and several of his classmates.
"We were just so under so much stress and not knowing what to expect and what was going on with Noah," Noah’s father Jessica Diaz-Orona said.
On Thursday, he and his family returned to visit the surgeon and nurses who were with them every step of the way.
“I'm really thankful for all that they have done for me and I really do appreciate especially the surgeon,” Noah said.
“We have so much to be grateful for for them. Because they you know, did everything for our son. Our surgeon just brings me to tears, because, you know, he just had that confidence about him and we knew our son was in good hands,” Oscar said.
The family passed out roses to the team and brought them lunch while wearing matching shirts in honor of the classroom 112 survivor.
“Resilience to us means Noah,” Jessica said.
“He's been through a lot. And for us, this is something that we think, in a nutshell, encapsulates everything about him,” Oscar said.
The Orona family also passed out wristbands with Noah’s name on it. These are actually a common gift that the families have been giving to people they met along the way on their healing journey as well as their journey over the past year.