Community support comes through for family of victim

Special
Parsons

A family friend of Laverne Par­sons said community support has been overwhelming in helping the slain woman’s husband and son cope with her death.

Mrs. Parsons, 41, of Grovetown, was severely beaten after apparently walking in on a burglary at her home in the Orchard Hill subdivision Wednes­day, authorities said. She died Thursday.

She is survived by her husband, David, and her son, Derek, a seventh-grader at Evans Middle School.

About 50 adult friends and more than 20 of Derek’s teammates from the four baseball teams he plays on visited Mrs. Parsons at Medical College of Georgia Hospital after the attack, said Derek’s baseball coach and family friend, Wayne Watts.

“I have been completely overwhelmed with people calling me and asking me how they can help,” Mr. Watts said.

Friends have volunteered to cook meals for Mr. Parsons and Derek, offered space in their homes, picked up vehicles and much more, Mr. Watts said.

Two Columbia County schools were coping with the tragedy Thursday.

School psychologists and counselors were at Lewiston Ele­mentary and Evans Middle schools to help students deal with Mrs. Parsons’ death.

“We’ve had our counselors and our school psychologist on hand to be able to assist those students that were close to the family to be able to comfort them,” said Evans Middle Principal Michael Johnson.

In addition, Mr. Johnson said, students have written letters and cards to the Parsons family. He said he was among those who visited David and Derek at the hospital Wednesday.

Mr. Johnson said the school also started collecting donations for the family. Those wishing to donate can write a check made out to the Parsons Family, c/o Evans Middle School, 4785 Hereford Farm Road, Evans, GA 30809.

Wesley United Methodist Church also is collecting funds to support the Parsonses. Donations can be mailed to the church at 825 N. Belair Road, Evans, GA 30809.

School psychologists and counselors also were at Lewiston Ele­men­tary to comfort children living in the Orchard Hill subdivision.

“They’re talking with those children and trying to allay their fears,” said Lewiston Principal Michael Doolittle.

Lewiston pupils and staff are also dealing with another loss. A first-grade teacher at the school, Melba Dodgen, suffered a personal tragedy when her son, 1st Lt. George S. Dodgen, 27, a Fort Gordon soldier, was killed in a car wreck on Bobby Jones Expressway early Wednesday.

Dr. Doolittle said counselors met with the teacher’s pupils Thursday.

“It’s a lot to swallow at one time, but we’ve got people that know what to do, and we’re blessed for that,” he said.

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