Clanton family of Zephyrhills has a lot to be thankful for - FOX 13 News

Clanton family of Zephyrhills has a lot to be thankful for

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Pastor Jon Clanton was back in front of his congregation on Sunday for the first time since August. Pastor Jon Clanton was back in front of his congregation on Sunday for the first time since August.
ZEPHYRHILLS (FOX 13) -

For the first time in four months Pastor Jon Clanton was back at the pulpit preaching thanks and praise Sunday morning at Grace Church of Zephyrhills.

He was glad to be back.

"It [the church] is such a source of encouragement," Pastor Clanton explained. "Not to have to walk through valleys and trials alone but to have friends who are praying."

The Clantons have been to hell and back.

In August, while in Rochester, New York the unimaginable happened. 

Jon was taking a walk with two of his young children - Saleh and Sam – when a tragic accident occurred. Pastor Clanton went to check his cell phone when suddenly he lost control of the stroller carrying his children.

It plunged into the Eerie Canal.

"I jumped in and grabbed hold of the stroller to tread water because my children [are] handicapped," Pastor Clanton explained. "They can't swim."

Jon and his children clung to some willow branches while attempting to tread water. Fortunately they were pulled from the water by some medical students.

"I do think it's a miracle that my children are alive because they could've drowned," Pastor Clanton added. "They didn't know how to swim."

Sam has since made a full recovery. Sunday marked his first service at the church since the accident. Saleh on the other hand continues to struggle. The little girl was recently moved to a hospital in Jacksonville to be closer to her family.

She remains in a ‘light coma.' Prayers for the Clanton family have come from far and near since the tragedy.

"It definitely reminds us when people are going through stuff you can never give enough support," said Yvonne Clanton, the Pastor's wife. "So it's a learning lesson for us."

The Clantons are hopeful Saleh will come home early next month, but they realize she still has a long way to go. 

Yvonne Clanton: "It's sort of the beginning of what our life will be like from now on."

But with faith on their side this family says they'll face each day without fear.

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