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FORT WORTH As the world watched the first Ebola patient to ever set foot on American soil, few watched as closely as the friends and family of Dr. Kent Brantly.

'My initial thought wasn't, 'Oh, that's Kent,'' said friend and church elder Kent Smith, 'but yeah, he was a little weak and wobbly... he's tall, he's got big feet. It just looked like him.'

Smith was expecting the infected doctor and father of two to be rolled into Emory University Hospital on a stretcher.

'Then to see him walk which hadn't even occurred to me was just unbelievable,' Smith said. 'I got goosebumps.'

While so much has changed in the past week, the message at the Southside Church of Christ in Fort Worth has stayed the same: 'Pray For Kent.'

Brantly, who was a Southside member during his five-year residency at John Peter Smith Hospital, was diagnosed last month with Ebola. Now, he has made history by coming home for treatment.

'I'm worried about him,' said his brother Kevin from his home near Atlanta. 'Yeah, I am. But he'll be okay regardless.'

Kevin said family members had spoken to Brantly as he prepared to be evacuated from Liberia, where he was infected at a clinic.

'I don't know the specifics, but I know he was feeling a little bit better and hopeful for that,' Kevin Brantly said.

That seemed evident as Brantly walked into Emory University Hospital in Atlanta Saturday on his own two feet. A medical expert told ABC News that was an optimistic sign.

Brantly's wife Amber was finally able Saturday to see and speak to him.

'You can't see this as anything other than an answer to prayers,' Smith said.

Yet the 'Pray For Kent' sign outside Southside Church of Christ will remain posted until the final prayer is answered; that this young doctor from Fort Worth defies the odds and conquers the unforgiving disease for which there is no known cure.

E-mail lzakalik@wfaa.com

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