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Vigil draws more than 500 people for children injured during a storm


Asher, 10, is the son of James “Jimmy” Sullivan, principal of Rutherford County Schools

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  • School principal takes to social media to ask people to pray for healing for Asher’s ‘lungs and especially brain activity’
  • 10 speak and share prayers for Asher
  • EMS helps 3 wake with medical treatment
  • At the wake many sing along: ‘Amazing Grace’

Hundreds of families gathered Thursday to pray for Asher, the storm-injured son of Rutherford County Schools Director James “Jimmy” Sullivan.

An estimated more than 500 people, students, teachers, young children and parents, showed their support for 10-year-old Asher and his family during a prayer vigil in the hot parking lot, sidewalks and grassy areas at central Rutherford County Schools. office.

They came as schools were closed Thursday following storm damage after Principal Sullivan posted on social media that “Asher needs a miracle.” The district announced that schools will remain closed Friday.

After the storm hit Wednesday, Asher was playing with other children in the water that had collected in the street as neighbors gathered to begin the cleanup process, when he somehow “got tangled in the drains and under the streets of the neighborhood was swept,” Sullivan wrote. .

“He eventually ended up in a drainage ditch and CPR was carried out for quite some time. His heart rate recovered, but the damage is significant.”

The director said in his post that his son was taken first to Ascension and then to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“His lungs are severely damaged and he is not showing much brain activity other than twitching,” Sullivan wrote. “Pray especially for healing of his lungs and especially for brain activity.”

Storm injury to 10-year-old Asher: Director of Rutherford Schools shares new details about injured son: ‘damage is significant’

Asher colleagues from Christiana Elementary gather under a shade tree

Among those who answered the call to prayer was a group under a shade tree at Christiana Elementary, where Asher goes to school. Many wore T-shirts with messages such as “Christiana Cougars” and “Cougar Nation.”

Christiana Middle teacher Tyler Frost came to the vigil carrying his 3-year-old daughter Layne and sometimes his 5-year-old son Keith, who wore a Spiderman hoodie and red boots.

“We just wanted to support Christiana Elementary because that’s where Asher is going,” said Frost, who teaches seventh grade English Language Arts. “The Sullivans are a huge part of the Christiana community.”

10 speak and share prayers for Asher

Attendees at the vigil listened to 10 people speak and exchange prayers on a day when the sounds of crickets could be heard in the grounds near the district’s headquarters.

“We pray for Asher,” prayed Matthew Brown, a district information technology employee, using a microphone beneath the main entrance of the Rutherford County Board of Education building.

Brown prayed for Asher’s family and friends.

Others prayed for peace for the Sullivan family and a miracle as Asher’s life hangs in the balance.

Those in attendance sang “Amazing Grace” together before the prayer vigil came to an end.

EMS helps 3 wake with medical treatment

Part of the event included emergency responders treating three people on a day with temperatures in the 80s. Onlookers from the nearby crowd helped a fainting girl get under a shade tree and offered her water before leaving with an escort from the Emergency Medical Service ran to an ambulance.

The vigil also included the presence of many Rutherford County elected officials, including Board of Education Caleb Tidwell, who represents the Christiana community.

“It’s so great to see the community coming out and supporting the way they did today,” Tidwell said. “It just shows the true love for the director, for his family and just for the believers in this community who want to come together and pray for healing for this son.”

Tidwell also described the prayer vigil as people standing in solidarity with the Sullivan family after the horrific accident.

“We wish them the best,” Tidwell said. “We pray for them and believe that God will perform a miracle, because only God can perform this miracle.”

Fellow provincial school board members Coy Young, Katie Darby, Frances Rosales, Tammy Sharp and President Shelia Bratton also attended the event.

TN State Senator Dawn White speaks about a prayer vigil for Asher Sullivan

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TN State Senator Dawn White speaks about a prayer vigil for Asher Sullivan

TN State Senator Dawn White, R-Murfreesboro, speaks about prayer vigil for Asher Sullivan

Other elected officials at the prayer vigil included Sen. Dawn White, R-Murfreesboro, Rutherford County Highway Superintendent Greg Brooks and County Mayor Joe Carr.

White said the event brings so much hope to our community.

“It’s such a sad event,” said White, a former kindergarten teacher at Murfreesboro’s Black Fox Elementary School. “We must lift the Sullivan family up in prayer.”

God is the one who can give hope and peace to the Sullivan family, White said.

“All they need right now is real prayer and a miracle, and God can make that happen,” White said.

Jimmy Richardson III, vice chairman of the Murfreesboro City School Board, was also in attendance, as was City Schools Director Trey Duke.

Reach reporter Scott Broden with news tips or questions by emailing him at [email protected]. To support his work at The Daily News Journal, please take out a digital subscription.