Local News

Littleton boy hurt by falling tombstone welcomed home

Posted July 24, 2013

— Colorful gold ribbons were festooned along Highway 48 in Halifax County on Wednesday to welcome 7-year-old Will Hawkins home from the hospital.

It was the first glimpse of the celebration that lay ahead for the Littleton second-grader, who had been hospitalized since a tragic accident in March nearly took his life.

Will and his family had been visiting the cemetery at Tabor United Methodist Church on March 10 to make sketches of the tombstones when Will wandered away from his parents and older sister. A stone obelisk that had been in place since 1918 toppled onto the boy, leaving him with critical head injuries.

“It was the single worst thing I have ever been through in my life,” said his aunt, Pam Hawkins Ballew, who waited for his return. “I’m so excited, I don’t know what to do. I just want him home.”

Will’s journey has touched the Littleton community and beyond. Even a half-hour drive away at the Roanoke Rapids Theatre, a sign was lit up declaring “Will Power.”

Will Hawkins Littleton boy injured by tombstone gets warm homecoming

Wearing an Indiana Jones hat and an ear-to-ear smile, Will arrived to his homecoming party in the back seat of the family car, his arms raised in triumph. He was given a sheriff’s escort home and made an honorary deputy.

“Oh, it just makes my heart want to burst,” said his mother, Doris Hawkins. “He’s just an incredible little boy.”

His parents said Will will be home-schooled in the fall as he continues to recover, but they will take him to school often to visit his classmates.


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  • welfarequeen Jul 25, 2013

    We have all been blessed to see this sweet little boy recover from horrific injuries and witness a true miracle! mdwrfw

    I wouldn't call it a miracle. I would call it the results of many medical professionals and the years and years of study they went through. If you call his recovery "a miracle", then what do you call the tombstone simply falling over on the child, a curse? lets try to leave superstition out of medical recovery.

  • prettyinpink1967 Jul 25, 2013

    I am so glad that Will's family has him back home where he can continue his recovery. They are a wonderful family and well-loved in our community. Thank you for your coverage of Will's story. Also, I see that you added the link to related stories that helped to frame yesterday's celebration for your viewers'readers.

  • just my2cents Jul 25, 2013

    Welcome Home, Will!! God bless you all. What a testimony you all have!

  • mdwrfw Jul 24, 2013

    I wish WRAL had focused more on the out pouring of community support for Will and his family over the last 4 months. The Roanoke Valley came together to pray for Will's recovery and to support this family anyway it could. Will's parents, Doris and Taylor, have been a wonderful example of what faith and hope can accomplish. We have all been blessed to see this sweet little boy recover from horrific injuries and witness a true miracle!

  • sunshine1040 Jul 24, 2013

    I would hope his family is glad to see their child healed and able to return home. I know I never wanted to see any of my family members injured or to sick to come home. Fix the headline please

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Jul 24, 2013

    I thought that child had died. Thank God he did not.

    Praying he will fully recover and not have a single after effect from this freak accident.