During times of tragedy, community support can make it easier to recover.
In the case of James and Michelle Hutto, who lost a son in a Martinez house fire last month, community efforts have provided their family with money and shelter, and blood for their other still-hospitalized son.
Nine-year-old Forrest Hutto died Aug. 25 at his family's two-story home on Red Leaf Way in the Maple Creek subdivision. An autopsy listed the cause of death as smoke and soot inhalation, said Columbia County Coroner Tommy King.
His brother, Andrew Nalley, 12, is still listed in critical condition after receiving second- and third-degree burns on nearly 25 percent of his body, said a Doctors Hospital spokeswoman.
Andrew's schoolmates at Riverside Middle School and neighbors recently came together to help in his recovery.
The Shepeard Community Blood Center held a blood drive at Riverside on Aug. 29 in honor of Andrew, and representatives collected 60 pints of blood, much of which will be used in Andrew's recovery.
"The liquid part of your blood is plasma," said Linda Walker, a recruitment coordinator for the blood center. "When you're a burn patient, you lose a lot of the liquid in your body. We've got to replace that liquid. Also, during the debridement process, where the patient is being scrubbed so no scabs can build, they can lose red cells, so we have to replace red cells.
"Sometimes, if the bleeding is too bad, we have to give them platelets to regulate that bleeding."
The community also supported a blood-donation effort on Andrew's behalf during a visitation for his little brother at Platt's Funeral Home last Wednesday.
Shepeard will hold a blood drive in honor of Forrest at Westmont Elementary School on Oct. 3 from 2 to 7 p.m. The blood will help replenish Shepeard's supplies.
Andrew's schoolmates at Riverside, and many pupils from Lakeside Middle School, donated money to help the family.
Riverside pupils brought in $4,569 and Lakeside donated more than $1,500 that went to the Augusta Red Cross to help the Huttos.
"I'm so pleased that our kids respond," Riverside Principal Don Putnam said. "Our kids come from caring homes, and they know the right thing to do is respond when someone is in need."
The Augusta Red Cross has established a bank account for the Huttos in which all donations made in their name will be deposited. The money will be used to provide clothes, housing, food and other family needs. With the assistance of Wesley United Methodist Church, the Red Cross provided the Huttos with a place to live until a family suite became available in the Doctors Hospital burn center.
Red Cross Executive Director Birnie Florie said he has received $600 in donations for the Huttos. Others wishing to donate can call the Red Cross at 724-8481.
"We will have other opportunities to help them as we move forward," Florie said.
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