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AUSTIN (CBS 11 NEWS)Amid all the pomp and circumstance during his inauguration, Texas’ new Governor Greg Abbott had a moment of clarity. “This moment was highly improbable.”

Improbable he said because 30 years ago this month, Abbott lay in a hospital bed in Houston after a tree fell on him while jogging. He broke his back, and has been in a wheelchair ever since.

Governor Abbott told the crowd who gathered on the south lawn of the Capitol, “I’m living proof that we live in a state that a young man’s life can literally be broken in half, and yet he can still rise up.”

The Governor credited God, his family, and someone else in the crowd from Duncanville, where he grew up. “My English teacher from Duncanville High School, Nancy Nickel.”

After the ceremony, Nickel said, “I didn’t know he was going to mention my name like he was going to mention my name. It was just, my heart burst with pride.”

Nickel says she’s not surprised Greg Abbott became Governor — in spite of life’s challenges. “He mentioned perseverance in his speech and that was one of the things I talked to my classes about and instill in them. And he is the epitome of perseverance.”

When asked if she not only made an impression on him, but he made an impression on her, Nickel said, “That is absolutely correct.”

In his speech, the Governor said Nickel taught him more than just English. “She taught me how to reach for my dreams.”

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