MCALMONT, Ark. – It’s a long anticipated homecoming. McAlmont native and gold medalist Jeff Henderson is back at his childhood home.
But before Jeff celebrated with the rest of his family, there’s someone he needed to see.
“Hey, how you doing?,” he asks his mother Debra.
Henderson said to her, “I want to put the medal on your head but I don’t want to hurt you.”
Debra was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 10 years ago, and doctors have told the family she may be in the final stages.
The emotions of seeing his mom, Jeff described, “Hard to explain, hard to put that in words. Emotions were like, I don’t know, hard to explain.”
“When she sees him she just follows him,” said Jeff’s dad Laverne Henderson.
Laverne said it’s a moment he’s been waiting for.
“It’s something we’ve been looking forward to and I really wanted to see his mother’s face,” he added.
The rest of the family celebrated his return too. They wore Rio and Team Henderson shirts, even the American Flag.
“It feels good to come back with a gold medal that we haven’t won since 2004,” said Jeff.
His homecoming was a day of taking pictures and admiring the gold.
But it’s in the other room, where the real celebrating is happening. Although you can’t hear it, you can see it.