News-Sun photo by SAMANTHA GHOLAR Fellow fire fighters pray together and show support for former volunteer fire fighter Johnny Tanner during a prayer vigil held for Tanner Wednesday night.
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published: Friday, April 12, 2013
Praying for a miracle
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING -- Dozens of family members, friends and former colleagues gathered Wednesday evening at the downtown Sebring Circle to hold a prayer vigil for a man who they all describe as kind and caring.
After a hit-and-run incident on April 5, former DeSoto City volunteer firefighter Johnny Tanner, 42, was airlifted to a hospital in Lakeland where he is fighting for his life.
According to Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Greg Bueno's report, Tanner was traveling northbound on DeSoto City Road in the north lane. A 1999 Dodge vehicle traveling the same direction in the same lane when the driver, who has been identified by investigators as Mitchell Rodriguez of Sebring, struck Tanner with the front right side of the vehicle.
Bueno's report goes on to say that Tanner "then impacted the windshield and onto the roof top" of the vehicle.
Rodriguez was arrested the night of the incident a few blocks away from the scene and has since been charged with giving false name at a crash, leaving the scene of an accident with injury, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage and driving while license suspended.
The vigil was a sentimental, prayer-filled occasion with many of Tanner's friends, family and even strangers in on hand.
"I just want him to come home. He is a big part of this family," said DeSoto City Volunteer Fired Department Chief Ben deBree.
A letter from Candy Tanner was read at the vigil, thanking everyone for their support for her husband.
"We have been overwhelmed with love and support that has been shown to us. Johnny would be in tears knowing that all of this was for him," she wrote.
Tatiana Matos, a Sebring High School student-athlete, spoke tearfully of the times she has spent with Tanner.
"My father and Johnny played softball together all the time. He was always at my brother's baseball games and just always supported him and his team and our family," Matos said as she teared up. "He is a fun and very caring and sweet man."
Family friend Diane Pollard reported Thursday morning that Tanner had not died following Wednesday night's vigil, despite rumors on social media.
"I don't know where this is coming from. I just talked to his wife, Candy. She texted me an update on him first thing this morning. Johnny did not pass last night," Pollard said.
"His condition remains the same, which is critical, but he is still alive."
The DeSoto City Volunteer Fire Department has planned a car wash that will raise funds for the Tanner family on April 28 at 10 a.m. The location is still being confirmed.
Hope! (by: Bronco Billy - 4/12/2013)
Dear Lord... I hope their prayers are answered.
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