Less than a month after a shooting rocked a Port St. Joe neighborhood, residents are rallying behind the victim. According to family members, 32-year-old Everett Gant is still on life support in Bay Medical center tonight. Miles away, his community is praying for his recovery.
Chris Follen will never forget that night.
"It still feels surreal...not here, not to him," Follen said
On July 31st, his friend Everett Gant went to confront Walton Henry Butler about a racial remark he allegedly made to a neighborhood child. Then, the unthinkable...
Butler tells police that he felt threatened by Gant, shooting him right there on his back porch. Now it's Gant's life that hangs in the balance.
George Duren, owner of the PSJ Piggly Wiggly, said he knew Gant well.
We loved seeing him everyday," Duren said. "He always had something pleasant to say...positive...upbeat," Duren said.
Duren, wanted to get his customers and the community to keep Everett in their hearts. He looked to the sky, in more ways than one, with this billboard.
"I said 'we want everybody to know that we're praying for him too,' and I think it's been positively received cause I think a lot of people joined in with us," Duren said.
Frank Johnson is one of those people. He's been friends with Everett for 10 years. He also has a sign outside his store that simply reads 'Praying for Everett'
"We wanted to let him and his family and friends know that pass by that we're concerned too," Johnson said.
Follen used his tips from his hot dog stand to support the family. Duren says these cases show just how close the city is.
"We're a loving community and a supportive community of each other, and I think most everybody feels that," Duren said.
Now with Gant still clinging on to life, 'Pray For Everett' has become more than just a phrase...it's now a rallying cry for the community.
"Whether you believe in god, or Buddha, or reincarnation, or just the power of the human spirit...just pray," Follen said. "That's the most any of us can do."
A Facebook page has been started in support of Gant and his family. The link is below.