03/05/13 — A family's faith - school, church raise thousands to assist Harrises

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A family's faith - school, church raise thousands to assist Harrises

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on March 5, 2013 2:28 PM

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Dann Patrick, pastor at Faith Free Will Baptist Church, places his hand on Floydie Harris' shoulder while saying a prayer. Patrick visited Harris in his home with students from Faith Christian to donate money from fundraisers the school held for Harris to offset his medical costs. Harris' wife, Rhonda, left and his son Carson, 10, look on.

DUDLEY -- Floydie and Rhonda Harris know all about the power of prayer.

They are reaping its benefits every single day since the Jan. 31 morning when their lives changed in an instant.

Harris was outside repairing a fence at the Pecan Road home they had only moved into two months before. Mrs. Harris was inside getting their two youngest sons ready for school.

A fully loaded semi truck left the roadway and struck Harris, 45.

He wound up in Vidant Hospital in Greenville undergoing multiple surgeries, including the partial amputation of his right leg and extensive damage to his left one. Early reports had him facing possible hospitalization for months.

But God had other plans for this family of faith.

"He made a lot more progress, a little faster than they anticipated," Mrs. Harris said Monday, four days after he was released and allowed to come home.

His mother, Sandra Harris, said her son still faces months of recovery before he can begin physical therapy.

But throughout, Floydie said medical staff and physical therapy aides have been "amazed" at his progress.

"Any time you lay in the bed 30 days, typically you're very weak," he said. And yet he was able to sit up on his own and do other things they asked.

"I think it really is just a blessing from God. I mean, you think about it -- they see people every day that can't even get up on their elbows. There's no way that you cannot give credit to God, for me having the strength, for Rhonda having the strength to not give up."

The family has also been surrounded by a steady stream of prayers, they said.

"There's never a good time for something like this to happen," Floydie said. "We're just overwhelmed by the support and the prayers -- we have gotten emails and phone calls from all over the world, literally all over the world, people have been praying for us.

"I think that's what got us through."

"With all the prayers that we received from the church, the school, the community and our family support has been tremendous," his wife said. "You feel like you're floating on angel wings. Each and every day has been amazing.

"They're just like transporting us through this situation. We could just feel the prayers."

Their church, Faith Free Will Baptist, and children's school, Faith Christian Academy, spearheaded many efforts to rally around the family, not only spiritually but by attempting to meet some of their financial needs.

Harris, who has a construction business, is obviously now sidelined, and his wife, a registered nurse, had stopped working to support her husband with his new business.

The week of Feb. 27-March 1 was declared "Floydie Harris Week" at the church and school, with a variety of efforts to raise funds to offset some of the ongoing bills. In addition to a bake sale and barbecue sale, classes held contests to see who could collect the most donations,

Students in two classes, one from the elementary grades and one from the high school, with the highest collection, were selected to go to the family home Monday to present the money to the couple. Appropriately enough, the winning classes were the grades of the Harris' children -- Troy is a sophomore at the school and Carson is in fourth grade.

As more than 50 students, along with teachers, crowded into the family living room, Floydie welcomed them from his hospital bed -- "Keep on coming!"

Faith pastor, Dann Patrick, led the group in a chorus of "God is so good" and later prayed over the family.

He also praised the faithfulness of the church and school families for rallying around the Harrises in such a strong way.

Then one by one, he announced the breakdown of donations -- $5,000 from the 10th grade, another $5,000 from the 4th grade, $4,000 from parents and different buckets set up around the school.

"We're sorry for that one being so small," Patrick said with a laugh of the latter amount.

Walter Sloan, principal, presented another $5,000 from the school and $5,000 from the church -- a total of $24,000.

"It's definitely needed," Floydie said. "When something unexpected like this happens, the bills keep coming."

Patrick said it was a joy to "play Santa Claus" and help someone.

"Thanks so much for your hard work," Floydie said. "I was lying here and couldn't do a thing."

"There's just no words," his wife said.

Sloan found a few, though.

"You have been such a great encouragement to us," he said. "You have been a great Christian example of how to handle adversity and trials. I thank you for that. We talked about that all week. You have exemplified what God said in His word -- trust Him and depend on Him."

The Harrises said many have commented about the profound way the church had supported them.

"Just the example that the church has shown, from the youngest up, it's such a wonderful example of a servant's heart," Mrs. Harris said.

Floydie also had a message to impart.

"Always remember that a half a second can change your life, and make sure that you have your heart right with God, because a half a second is all it takes," he said. "My life could have been different. My family's life could have been different."