Luther and Estelle Thrift, along with their daughter, Tatum Thrift, are issuing a plea to the public to continue praying for Joseph Manning, 15, their grandson (Tatum’s son) who was critically injured when he fell from a loft in a barn onto a concrete pad on the evening of Dec. 31.
Manning is the son of Tatum Thrift and only grandson of Luther and Estelle Thrift.
“He means all the world to us,” said Luther. “She adopted him but raising him as we did makes him feel just like family. He is one of us. When we got him (as a baby), he had never had any solid food.”
Thrift said Tuesday that some of the doctors in Jacksonville, Fla. were advising disconnecting the boy’s life-sustaining equipment but that his mother wants to wait a while longer.
“Just tell the folks to keep praying. We know there is power in prayer,” said Luther Thrift. “I thought I was close to God but I have got a lot closer to Him since this happened. We have cried a river of tears. It’s all in His hands and we need everyone to pray that God will move and Joseph can recover. We are really close to him and we love him very deeply.”
He noted that the doctors said every time Tatum goes in to talk to her son, he responds positively.
“Tatum has the final say-so and she wants to wait at least until Friday and let them check on him again,” said the grandfather. “Two surgeons have said he still has brain activity and is moving parts of his body.”
Luther Thrift said a GBI investigation is ongoing into what caused the boy to fall, adding that two of his acquaintances — teen boys — had beaten him badly at the party at a barn on Swamp Road.
“A girl sent Joseph some naked pictures of herself and her boyfriend got mad,” explained Luther Thrift. “So then he jumped on Joseph. There was at least two of them that beat him. It would have taken two because Joseph is a black belt and is very strong. They pushed him or throwed him out of the loft onto the concrete.”
Adding to the agony was the fact that no one reported the incident, leaving the teen to be found by a family member the following morning, about 12 hours after he was hurt. And doctors, Thrift added, said his blood alcohol level was only .01, “he was not drunk.”