Letter to the Editor

Pritchards thank community for its help in time of need

Thursday, February 9, 2017

To the Editor:

This thank you has taken a long time to write and several rough drafts. I know we will leave someone out and I hate that, but please know you are all “Thanked” more than you will ever know.

Aug. 3, 2016 was a day that forever changed our lives. The phone call came that our son Payton had been critically injured in an ATV accident and was being flown by Stat Flight to St. Vincent Hospital.

Thank you to our dear friends, Jay and Jackie Hopkins, Beth and Jeff Flint and Renee Marsteller, who rushed to be with us in those first hours. You will never know how much it meant to have you all there with us.

Within hours of his accident fundraisers were already being planned for our family. Jay and Jackie Hopkins with Moore’s Bar had a “Pack the House for Payton” on Aug. 9 with countless volunteers helping. Brandi Baxter and Leigh Pritchard put together a silent auction for this event in less than a week. To all the people who donated and bought items at the silent auction, thank you. Jordan Stephenson donated his time and talents for the evening. He even learned Payton’s favorite song, “Fancy.”

Next fundraiser was a golf scramble put together by Hank and Joanna Goldman and Chris Haas. The weather was not the best that day, but it didn’t damper the spirits of the golfers. They had two full flights of golfers and over 60 hole sponsors. Wow! Rhonda Brotherton of Putnam Inn catered a lunch on a donation only basis. Speechless, touched, blessed, loved are just a few words to describe how we felt.

Joel and Tosh Everson were the next to play at the Inn of DePauw with a portion of all proceeds going to our family. The fundraisers were still being planned, Ashton Butler and Kim Perkins had T-shirt sales in full swing. Thanks to Bob and Marcy Campbell of Sunset Ink we will see Prayers for Payton T-shirts for years to come. Brandi Baxter had bracelets and lanyards, Leigh Pritchard had buttons, Tristan French had koozies and hundreds of each were sold. Amazing to us! To the local businesses that had “Prayers for Payton” on their signs, thank you.

Greencastle Christian Church, what can we say? Thank you will never be enough for everything you did for our family. John Tischer and the elders came to St. Vincent and anointed Payton and prayed with us at our request. It was the most touching experience to us. Next was Bobbie Lancaster that put together a beautiful prayer service on Sunday, Aug. 21 at 3:00. It was during this prayer service that Payton opened his eyes for the first time! Tell us prayer doesn’t work. Next up was Erika O’Rourke with the youth group that did the most amazing chalk art of a John Deere tractor and it said “Fancy, Don’t Let Me Down.” We were so touched to see this. GCC, we love you all so very much.

Mark and Debbi Christy and Recco and Dee Ann Rooker, words will never express what we learned from you all. Just your presence gave us comfort. My frantic texts at all hours of the day and night to Debbi and Dee Ann were always responded with, “yes, that is normal” or “it’s going to be OK.”

Debbi, the Spa Day at the Martin House will never be forgotten, I got my hair colored by Heather Whitaker and I got a pedicure from one of Debbi’s friends who I have forgotten her name. We love you all and are forever a part of your “club.” Jim and I hope some day we will be able to help a family as you all have helped us.

The calls, cards, food, books, blankets, cash, gift cards, gift baskets and meals brought to us at the hospital and at home were so very appreciated. Our nurses joked that they need a pre-Payton weight and a post-Payton weight, because of all of you we were able to keep our nurses in snacks. They even got to experience Marvin’s GCB’s.

To the first responders what can we say? You will all hold a special place in our hearts forever. I hope to not cry every time I see you all out in public. Reelsville Fire Department (John McPherson), Putnam County Sheriff’s Department (Jake Harrington), Putnam County Operation Life (Chris and Brandi Query), Stat Flight (Stephen Wise and Jarbo) Eric Girton, Seniour’s Towing and a CO that I don’t know his name. Logan Hedrick, no words for what you did and went through in those first few minutes before anyone arrived.

To our employers, Endeavor Communications, First National Bank, CVS, Crown Equipment, Dr. Robin Mendelsohn and CSX. Thank you will never be enough. We were all blessed by the best employers ever.

To our neighbors, Mitch and Vicki Huber, for taking Gage, we never once worried that he wasn’t in the best of care. He loved being with you all. To Buzz Deer and Kallie thank you for taking Kimber and getting her potty trained. I know it wasn’t easy and you all did a great job with her.

Buzz and Mo Fenwick for keeping Payton’s yard mowed. To Matt Bumgardner, Blake Hicks and Butlers, thank you for mowing our yard. To Jeff Boggess and Mike Goss, thank you for your help with some legal matters.

As bad as this accident was we learned so much and feel so blessed that God chose us for this journey. We heard he only chooses the strongest. From day one we took this journey head on and accepted the challenge he had given us.

Our lives will never be the same, we are changed people. The courage, strength and friendships we gained will be with us forever.

After spending 47 days at St. Vincent and five weeks at RHI Payton was able to come home. We know he is a miracle and God chose to keep him here on earth with us. For that we are blessed. Payton continues to improve each and every day. He will continue outpatient therapy.

Thank you, Greencastle and Putnam County, for being with us every step of the way.

We love each and every one of you.

Jim, Natalie, Makenzie, Nicholas, Payton, Kaileigh and Parker Pritchard