PERRY, Ga. — People across Georgia have rallied to support a Perry family in need. 28-year-old Nick Boutwell is in the hospital battling COVID-19 and pneumonia.
He's unable to talk and is on an oxygen machine. The Boutwell family says they never could have imagined the past few months.
Just days before Nick was rushed to the emergency room, his 11-month-old daughter Rylee spent time in the hospital for the same things.
Jordan Kersey, the family's pastor, says he's known the Boutwells for seven years.
“I've never known anyone that's been this affected by COVID. It's gut-wrenching. You certainly would never think a 28-year-old, happy, and healthy male like Nick would ever be affected,” said Kersey.
Nick was at Houston Medical, but was airlifted to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, Georgia.
Kersey started a GoFundMe. He says Nick's wife Lacy has been out of work to take care of the family.
“We've got to pray, but we've also got to do something else. 'What can we do to help this family in this time of crisis?” said Kersey.
Kersey says there's been an overflow of support. He’s glad to help ease their financial struggles.
“What we saw was less than 8 hours over $20,000 had been donated to this cause. That's indicative of what kind of person Nick is and what he means to everyone that he comes in contact with,” he said.
Nick is a former Perry Police K9 officer -- now he works as a Special Agent with the Georgia Department of Corrections.
“I think Nick knew how loved he was, but I believe when he comes out on the other side of this, he'll be blown away by the love and support of all of us,”
We spoke to Nick's wife Lacy who sent a statement on the families' behalf.
"Rylee, Robin, George, and I are so thankful for everyone that has reached out in every way. The Houston Healthcare workers and Northeast Georgia Medical Center have been wonderful and have done so much for him. Please continue to pray for Nick and his healing as we are on this uncharted journey," said Lacy.
Nick's family also confirmed that he was not vaccinated against COVID-19.
If you would like to donate to the GoFundMe, you can do so here.