Community support boosts family’s spirits

Life has been a blur for a close-knit Indian Harbour Beach family since 7:45 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 16.

It was at that moment when brothers and Ocean Breeze Elementary School students Gregory, 8, and Verdell Morgan, 11, were struck as they crossed South Patrick Drive during a Christmas event. They were then flown by two helicopters to Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando.

A GoFundMe.com page set up to assist the family with mounting medical bills has now raised more than double its original $10,000 goal. The crash, and the boys’ hospitalization, piled on to the problems over the holidays.

“Our spirits are up. We’re not quite out of the woods yet but we’re getting there,’’ said the boys’ aunt Brittany Brown, a longtime friend of Satellite Beach City Council member Mindy Gibson.

But the family was already in crisis mode before the crash, with pending foreclosure proceedings on their home. That issue is not yet solved.

“I’ve known this family for years. They are good people and there is nothing more important than keeping these children together. I’m praying that the boys heal quickly and are able to stay in their home with their brothers and sisters,’’ Gibson said.

Brown said she’s pleased and grateful for the $20,000 raised by the Gofundme.com campaign, “but (the mortgage company) says we may need twice that to go toward saving our home,’’ Brown said.

And, once the home is saved from foreclosure, it is going to need some accessibility renovations to accommodate the mobility issues that will be faced by Verdell as he continues his recovery, including a wider doorway and space for a hospital bed, she said.

Gregory already is home and getting around well on crutches for a cast on his leg. Verdell remains in Orlando recovering from a broken leg and wrist, and head injuries, with hopes of getting home in the next few weeks.

“We’re hoping there is a contractor out there that can help us out. We definitely still need help with the repairs and fixing up the house. Verdell used to sleep in the top bunk and he won’t be able to any more,’’ Brittany Brown said.

Grandmother Sharon McLean and the boys’ mother Shanel Brown praised the first responders whose quick actions, they believe, saved the boys’ lives that night. “They actually said that it’s a miracle that both boys survived and are recovering. If it wasn’t for the first responders, they wouldn’t have made it to the hospital,’’ McLean said.

Charges are not expected to be filed against the driver, Zachary Hobby of Indialantic, who was said to be leaving a church event at Gleason Park, and driving slower than the posted speed limit when the nighttime accident occurred.

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