Greene County Tech Students Support Fellow Student

January 25, 2007--Posted at 4:15 p.m. CST

PARAGOULD, AR--October 27th, 2006 a two car wreck in Brookland took the life of 18 year-old Shauna Kail and sent six others to the hospital.

Five of the injured were Greene County Tech students returning to Paragould after a cheerleading practice.

Since that time, four of those students have been released from the hospital.

However, 16 year-old Whitney Whelchel is still in the hospital.

She has improved to the point where she can communicate with her hands and has some facial expressions, but still has a long road to recovery.

Thursday in Atlanta Whelchel went in for her most important surgery to date.

Since her accident, the community of Paragould has rallied together for the teen and Thursday was no exception.

Chelsea Rawls keeps her friend in her prayers every day.

"She's already come so far and people look at her and just know, she is a miracle," said Rawls.

But on the day Whitney Whelchel is to have her most important surgery to date, Rawls feels surprisingly at ease.

"I am kind of nervous for her, but I know that God will take care of her, so I am not that worried," said Rawls.

That's because Rawls believes in the power of prayer. She was one of over 30 Greene County Tech students who woke up an hour early and ignored the cold to show their support for Whelchel's surgery.

"People driving they'll see this and think about it and they may pray right there in their car," said classmate Blaine Cagel.

Cagel feels the support of the community is one of the factors aiding Whelchel. Ultimately, these students felt they had to show their support because Whitney is a friend.

"Whitney would have done it for us any day. She has 100's of people praying for her and she has inspired that many more," said classmate Adrian Blansett.

While Blansett and this group of teens are over 1000 miles away from Whelchel, they know they are making a difference.

"If it wasn't successful we wouldn't have hundred's of car driving by and honking," said Blansett.

Coordinators of the event selected the site along Kingshighway because of its high traffic volume. They estimate that over 1000 vehicles passed by while they were out here. For them that's 1000 potential prayers to aid Whitney's recovery.

"It's amazing, without prayer Whitney wouldn't be where she is now," said Rawls.

Even though Whelchel's condition has improved since October, these students say they aren't in a hurry to stop praying for her.

"Until she is 100% healed and then after that we will be out here thanking God for what he has done," said Blansett.

We received word from those close to Whitney Whelchel that Thursday's surgery in Atlanta was a success. She is currently back in her hospital room resting and recovering.