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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Strong as Steele: Indianola neighbors dedicate light display to Atlantic teen who suffered serious injury after hunting accident

Steele McLaren was in a serious accident while hunting in October resulting in a traumatic brain injury.

INDIANOLA, Iowa — You may have seen signs around central Iowa saying "Strong as Steele" or simply just "#32". 

Those messages show support for Steele McLaren, an Atlantic teen who has a traumatic brain injury following a hunting accident that happened in October. 

"A minute is an hour when you're sitting in a hospital room," Kris Lange said. 

Kris owns Caring Acres, a nursing home in Anita where Steele's mom Jess works. 

Because of pandemic visiting restrictions, Kris said she isn't able to help Jess as much as she'd like. 

"I just thought surely there's something we can do to let them know how many prayer warriors are out there that care for them," Kris said. 

So Kris got to work. 

With the help of her husband Eric, their son Jeremy and their neighbor Harry Aller, they put together a video with Christmas lights dubbed to a worship song. 

"It brought all of these prayer warriors together to let this family know that you will get through this," Jeremy Lange said. "There are people that are standing here behind you and we're sending you the strength to be able to get through it."

"So many times, like with the lights, we spend time putting it to Christmas music and songs we grew up with, but they don't have any deeper meaning than to ourselves," Aller said. "This is something that can be shared elsewhere to show that people are thinking about him and hope that he gets better and thinking about the family."

The light display was just one example of the community rallying around Steele's family. 

There is also a Facebook page with more than 31,000 members, where Steele's family posts daily updates about the 17-year-old's recovery journey. 

On it, you'll find messages of prayer and support posted from friends of the family and also complete strangers.

This all shows Iowa's spirit of kindness is still: Strong as Steele.