CRESTVIEW — Micah Brannon knows firsthand what it's like when the community rallies for a common cause.
The 14-year-old's cousin, Drew Barefield, is recovering from a June 28 boating accident, an apparent hit-and-run that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is still investigating. A boat propeller hit the 12-year-old while he snorkeled in shallow water off Walton County’s Choctaw Beach.
Meanwhile, countless North Okaloosa residents have supported the family by organizing fundraisers, donating money, wearing T-shirts or wristbands, or simply changing their Facebook profile picture to a graphic that states, "#prayfordrew."
The Barefields will receive more support during a 3:30 p.m. check presentation Tuesday at the McDonald's fast food restaurant on North Ferdon Boulevard in Crestview. The restaurant's owners, owners, Costa Enterprises, will announce how much they raised after agreeing to donate 20 percent of last Monday's 4-8 p.m. sales. Emmanuel Baptist Church youths called the benefit "McDrew Night."
“It’s phenomenal seeing all of the support behind the family,” Micah said. “Just seeing all of the people wearing the T-shirts supporting Drew (and) nobody told them to; it’s just great.”
Drew's sister, Savannah, who joined Micah and cousin, Moriah, for the McDonald's benefit — also expressed appreciation.
“This is so humbling, to see all of these people supporting him,” she said. “My family feels so blessed.”
Dennis Ealy, area supervisor for Costa Enterprises, said many thanked him for the fundraiser.
However, "it’s really not needed, because this is something that we really want to do,” he said.
HOW TO HELP
Fundraisers for Drew Barefield, a 12-year-old recovering from a June 28 boating accident, are as follows:
●Chill, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 26: 20 percent of yogurt sales at 2218 S. Ferdon Blvd., Crestview, will benefit the Barefields.
●Gordon Martial Arts, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 2: The West Oakdale Avenue parking lot in Crestview will facilitate numerous vendors. Bring booth supplies such as a tent, tables and chairs. Details: 682-5214.
●Half Boston butts are available; call Mercedes Jones, 826-2014, to order 10- to 14-pound roasts. Payment is due Aug. 5; pickup tentatively is Aug. 8 and 9. Pick-up sites will be in Crestview, Laurel Hill, Milton, and possibly Niceville and Destin.
●BBVA Compass Bank's Drew Barefield Donation Account is accepting contributions.
●Paypal users can send monetary donations to firstname.lastname@example.org.